The Memory Program of the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC) is dedicated to different aspects and techniques applied to cognitive and memory research and human behaviour in ecological conditions.
The program was launched at the end of 2017, by Dr Luis Martínez-Otero, and is structured in two collaborative research groups: the Decisions, Emotion and Memory (DEMO) group, led by Martínez-Otero, and the Neural Mechanisms of Memory Research Group (NEMO) group, headed by Dr Rodrigo Quian-Quiroga, a BBRC visiting investigator.
In the past decades, research in neuroscience has been very successful in uncovering the most fundamental principles of perception and functional brain organization using basic stimuli under well-controlled but overly simplistic laboratory based paradigms, and the postulates of linear systems theory. In recent years, however, it is becoming clear that this classic approach will not suffice to understand the more complex, cognitive aspects of human nature. The main reason is that the brain is not a linear system and we cannot expect that results obtained from simplified, controlled stimuli would generalize to more ecologically valid environments; we should not expect that the neural correlates of a complex behavior could be simply understood from a detailed investigation of its constituent parts.
The Memory Program aims to introduce multidisciplinary approaches that maximize both parametric control, as in classic laboratory-based experiments, and behavioral relevance, to test models of neurocognitive functions in conditions resembling everyday situations. In that sense, the members of the program will have access to a host of experimental and computational techniques, including human behavior and imaging (including fMRI), electrophysiology (EEG) and eye and body tracking. Of particular interest, because of its novelty, they will join efforts in developing new experimental paradigms and technologies to study collective behavior and computations in humans, by synchronizing recordings and measurements in several subjects performing concurrent tasks in natural or pseudo-natural environments.