One researcher’s unorthodox approach to understanding memory

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Neo Mohsenvand. Image credit: Hannah Campbell

Mostafa “Neo” Mohsenvand often walks around with a fisheye lens on a smartphone strapped to his chest and a black, electrode-covered neoprene EEG cap on his head. All, mind you, for science.

Mohsenvand, a graduate student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT’s Media Lab, is trying to learn about what makes moments memorable by zealously gathering as much data as possible about himself and the world around him, and matching up his biometric signals with times and events.

So far, he’s logged over 1,500 hours of footage. Every few days he uses software to combine the videos and biometric signals, creating minutes-long films that slow down and speed up in accordance with metrics like the acceleration and deceleration of his heart rate and his level of skin conductance—things he can’t consciously control, and that he believes correspond with the noteworthiness of events in his life.

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Heather Abercrombie, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin—Madison who heads the school’s Mood and Memory Laboratory, says scientists tend to capture data from groups of people rather than looking at them as individuals. But since people are bound to have different physiological reactions to different situations, Mohsenvand’s one-person life logging could be useful.

“If we can capture, across time, what’s different about individuals, that’s actually great,” she says.

Read full, original post: This man’s quest to understand memory starts with obsessive bodycam recording and brain-wave tracking

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