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Understanding how we learn
Video transcript:

Gary Cottrell: The Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center is one of six Science of Learning Centers that are sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Our goal is to create a new science of the temporal dynamics of learning. That's a big phrase, but what it means is we want to understand the role of time and timing in learning. So, all of our research groups are highly interdisciplinary. By combining many different disciplines, we can look at a problem and think about the best way to approach the problem.

Virginia de Sa: I'm one of about 40 faculty investigators with the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. What we're doing in this research currently is we're looking to see how the brain activity changes in people with Parkinson's disease when they're walking with visual cues and after they're walking with visual cues. 

So, you can put electrodes on the head and read out brain activity. It's been found in many studies that walking on tile floors or textured floors is found to help people with Parkinson's disease while walking. The subject will be wearing a device that provides visual and auditory cues and what it does is as they walk, it will move this checkerboard pattern above their visual field like this.  And the idea is for them to imagine that they're walking on a tile floor.

So, while they're walking on this, we'll be recording the EEG and we'll be analyzing it offline after the fact to see what brain areas are talking to other brain areas.  And we'll be looking specifically for connectivity between areas processing visual information and the areas involved in gait production. And what we want to do in our study is better understand how these cues are actually helping them, so that either we can make better systems to help them or better understand at least the mechanism for how the visual cues are helping them.

Gary Cottrell: The real engine of research for TDLC is the collaborations developed between researchers. Sharing data, sharing techniques, all of these things are very important for developing interdisciplinary science.