Uri Hasson

PNI & Psychology
Ph.D., The Weizmann Institute of Science, 2004
Office Phone
243 PNI

Research Focus

My research focuses on developing new methods to assess both shared and idiosyncratic aspects of the cortical response time courses across individuals. These methods measure the reliability of cortical activity, within or between subjects, in response to naturalistic stimulation (e.g., free viewing of movies). Despite the seemingly uncontrolled task, some of these complex stimuli evoke highly reliable and selective responses in many brain areas, including some brain regions that often do not show much response modulation with conventional experimental protocols. What are the factors that can account for the emergence of such shared responses? Can we dissociate between neuronal processes which are shared by all people, those which are unique to a given sub-group, and those which are idiosyncratic to an individual? Moreover, can we use such shared responses for communication with other people?

My research is part of a growing trend in neuroscience towards the study of brain responses to natural real-life events. Psychology and neuroscience research typically adopt a reductionist, deductive approach to study particular cognitive and neurobiological processes. Empirical research in these fields has largely resorted to abstraction and simplification in order to achieve maximal control over as many variables as possible while isolating or randomizing other intervening or potentially confounding factors. Despite their obvious advantages and past effectiveness, such experimental protocols lack the distinctive complexity of real life. Thus, our lab attempts to develop complementary paradigms to study the neural activity that drives human behavior under natural and realistic conditions.

One line of research in the lab focuses on developing new methods for investigating how the brain integrates real-life complex information over time (for details see link above to case study I). The second line of research investigates the underlying neuronal mechanism that facilitates the transfer of information between two brains in the course of real life interaction (for details see link above to case study II). Our research spans methodologies, recruiting both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as direct measurement of electrical activity using intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) recordings.

Related Links

Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Research Area
Human Cognitive
Computation & Theory