Music, education and the brain

Brains in Concert!

Below a small report from a unique event that took place earlier this year in São Paulo!

At the start of 2019, a very special event took place in the auditorium of the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, in São Paulo Brazil. The lucky 500 researchers and students that managed to secure a ticket, were able to experience a musical performance quite different from traditional concerts. While doctor Alicia Kowaltowski (Institute of Chemistry of the University of São Paulo (IQ-USP)) and neuroscientist Patrícia de Carvalho Aguiar (Einstein Brain Institute) played violin and cello, real-time oxygenation changes in their brain were projected above their heads!


This spectacular show was produced by Professor João Ricardo Sato, neuroscientist and statistician at the Center for Mathematics, Computing and Cognition at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC). Professor Sato is an expert fNIRS researcher, with a particular interest in applying hyper-scanning to study teaching and learning processes, as well as music cognition. During the event in January, the brain, music and education converged into a great spectacle. A full report of this event can be read in the online version of the Pesquisa FAPESP magazine (in Portuguese).

It’s not the first time this group is finding new and innovative ways to showcase fNIRS. Below is a video produced by the Neuroscience and Music group of UFABC during the presentation of the Orquestra Sinfônica de Santo André.

And, who has not seen the famous violin hyper-scanning video?

In February, Professor Sato and his colleagues published their work on studying brain activity in professional violinists in Frontiers in Psychology. Specifically, the group used fNIRS hyper-scanning to identify distinct patterns of brain activity for when the violinists were playing either as leader or as follower in musical duets. A great example of multi-subject studies in naturalistic environments!

Interested to read more about the work of Professor Sato? Below you will find A selection of recent publication:

VANZELLA, P. et al . fNIRS responses in professional violinists while playing duets: Evidence for distinct leader and follower roles at the brain level . Frontiers in Psychology . Feb. 2019. 
BROCKINGTON, G. et al . From the laboratory to the classroom: The potential of functional near-infrared spectroscopy in educational neuroscience . Frontiers in Psychology . Oct. 2018 
BALARDIN, Joana B. et al . Imaging brain function with functional near-infrared spectroscopy in unconstrained environments . Frontiers in Human Neuroscience . May. 2017.

New to fNIRS and interested to see if our hyper-scanning solutions can enhance your research? Or looking to advance your ongoing fNIRS work and take it to natural environments? Please do not hesitate to Contact us!