Near-infrared spectrometry for the measurement of central nervous system activation: a brief demonstration of an emerging behavioral assessment tool
Roche, Bryan and Coyle, Shirley and Ward, Tomas and Markham, Charles and McDarby, Gary (2005) Near-infrared spectrometry for the measurement of central nervous system activation: a brief demonstration of an emerging behavioral assessment tool. The Behavious Analyst Today, 6 (2). pp. 121-126.
Behavior analysts are familiar with the use of electrodermal activity as a dependent measure of central nervous system activation. In addition, behavior analysts have increasingly turned to direct measures of brain activation, such as electroencephalography and event-related potentials. Recent developments in the field of bioengineering, however, have produced a new and exciting brain-activation recording device known as near infrared spectrometry, or NIRS. The current paper reports a demonstration of its use in a traditional respondent conditioning paradigm. Specifically, a male volunteer was exposed to a conditioning paradigm designed to produce both an eliciting stimulus for fear and a relief stimulus. Conditioning effects were assessed using electrodermal activation as well as blood volume changes in the frontal lobe, recorded by NIRS. The results of the demonstration show that both electrodermal and NIRS measures can successfully identify conditioning effects without necessarily tracking each other on a trial-by-trial basis. It is suggested that NIRS is an inexpensive, non-invasive technique for the assessment of learning and behavior at the neural level.
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