Magdeburg brain researchers publish the most comprehensive raw data set of natural language processing in the brain. It is freely accessible for interested researchers and the public—hereby allowing broad interdisciplinary collaborations.
Are there researchers who voluntarily share their complete, raw data sets online before even having evaluated the data themselves?
The 7-Tesla MRI scanner at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, which the researchers have used to collect their data.
Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, OVGU Magdeburg / Photo: D. Mahler
Until some time ago, this was unthinkable. Even today, many scientists shy away from permissive data sharing before their results are published—helping strengthen their professional reputation. Magdeburg psychologist Professor Michael Hanke from the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg has now embarked on a different route altogether with Dr. Jörg Stadler from the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology and colleagues.
They will publish the most comprehensive set of raw brain imaging data on natural language processing in the inaugural issue of the new open-access journal Scientific Data of the Nature Publishing Group. It is already freely available for analyses from the website http://www.studyforrest.org.
"We have received funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to collect data. Now we see it as our duty to maximize the impact from this research for society," Hanke explains, whose project was funded in the framework of a German-US-American Collaboration within the Bernstein Network of Computational Neuroscience. The brain researchers will now receive professional acknowledgements through citations of their data article.
This open science approach has the advantage of accelerating progress in science. Competing research labs can simultaneously work on a subject without obstructing other scientists’ research plans through delaying the publication of data sets. Also, when scientists are asked to share data, they do not need to laboriously reconstruct past data collections—some inquirires are made years after the first publication—since the raw data have already been prepared for sharing. This saves time and cost, which can be used to further scientific developments.
The published Magdeburg data set focuses on the processing of acoustic stimuli. In the study, participants listened to an audio movie of the classic feature film Forrest Gump. Meanwhile, their brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as it processed language, music, emotions, memories, and visual imagery. Thus, the recordings do not isolate a single aspect of brain function, but instead reflect the real complexity of information flow in everyday listening experiences. In addition to the fMRI data, the scientists provide comprehensive anatomical descriptions of the participants' brains, as well as measurements on breathing and heartbeat. These help indicate the portions of the film when the listener was more excited or relaxed.
With these data, it is possible to study emotion processing during listening experiences—or analyze completely different research questions. Besides Hanke, at least two other research groups in England and Australia are currently evaluating this data. He does not know their specific lines of inquiry, however, there is one thing he is positive about: “professionals from other disciplines—such as engineers—have a very different approach to our data while also possessing the required skills to optimally analyze them for their own use." In order to promote such inter-disciplinary research the Magdeburg Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences has sponsored an award of 5000 EUR for the best use of the published data set.
The German-US-American Collaboration “Development of general high-dimenstional models of neuronal representation space” is an international research project in which scientists at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Dartmouth College (USA), and Princeton University (USA) are involved. It is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience in Germany. With this funding initiative, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has supported the new discipline of Computational Neuroscience since 2004 with over 180 million Euros. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835-1917).
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Michael Hanke
Otto von Guericke University
Institute of Psychology II
Tel: +49 (0)391 67-18481
M. Hanke, F. J. Baumgartner, P. Ibe, F. R. Kaule, S. Pollmann, O. Speck, W. Zinke & J. Stadler (2014): A high-resolution 7-Tesla fMRI dataset from complex natural stimulation with an audio movie. Scientific Data, 1: 140003.
http://www.psychoinformatics.de Michael Hanke’s „Psychoinformatics“ Lab
http://www.uni-magdeburg.de Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
http://www.lin-magdeburg.de Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
http://www.cbbs.eu Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Magdeburg
http://www.nncn.de National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience
Mareike Kardinal | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations
19.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A gene activated in infant and young brains determines learning capacity in adulthood
13.11.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Science Education
19.11.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences