Course of Psychology

Professor KOJIMA Haruyuki (Psychology)

[Theme] Experimenting with and Measuring the Mind

I specialize in psychology; however, this also includes the subfields of experimental psychology or perceptual, and cognitive psychology. When asked what I do, I sometimes answer that I "work with vision" or that "I study the brain and mind."
In essence, my research encompasses three major themes.

A) Explaining mechanisms and characteristics of the senses, perception, and cognition, especially related to vision

As we see and hear things, we feel and think about what they are or what those people are thinking. Accumulating and considering information in this manner then gives us the ability to act. Just what sort of mechanisms make our higher brain functions (also sometimes referred to as cognitive functions) possible?

Visual recognition begins when we see something with our eyes, and it is realized after various processes when this information travels through our nerves to different parts of the brain. Our recognition of sounds and voices or music and words also works in the same manner. (However, the locations the information is conveyed to from the ear are different.) Just what sort of changes are occurring within our brains and bodies as all of this takes place?

B) Measuring brain activity and integration of complex sensory information

People think, move their bodies, and perform various actions. This is all due to the functioning of our brains. How is the information we receive from our various senses tied together in our brains? What sort of brain activity does it all appear as? We investigate the nerve activity of our brains when we perform cognitive functions using the latest equipment such as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and magnetic encephalography (MEG).

C) Research on disorder of brain function

There are cases where the brain does not function properly for various reasons. In some situations, this is due to an accident or illness, while at other times, it occurs due to underdevelopment or aging. In my laboratory, I conduct research on "development" and "handicaps" in brain functions in collaboration with various academic and medical professionals. At Kanazawa University, the research fields of biochemistry, neurophysiology, medical science, education of handicapped children, and psychology work together to conduct a study on clarifying the mechanisms of developmental impediments in the minds of children or cognitive disabilities in the elderly known as the 21st Century COE Project in which I also participate.

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