P. Murali Doraiswamy: "The Human Cognition Project"

May 10, 2013


MIT Media Lab, E14-274 (East Lab)


Cognitive domains of processing speed, reaction time, vigilance and working memory are central to our ability to perform at peak levels. But most of us do not perform at an optimal level. Cognitive disorders, such as ADHD, mild cognitive impairment, head injury and Alzheimer's, affect over 25 million people in the US. New technologies and media platforms are enabling practical applications of neuroscience advances. The Human Cognition Project, an online citizen science project which used game playing to create the largest database of human cognition ever assembled, is enabling insights into the determinants of normal human learning and cognitive capabilities. A brain-computer interface (developed at Duke-NUS) attention-memory training system that is individualized to subjects and driven by subjects’ concentration and cognitive performance has shown promise for improving performance in ADHD. Auditory ERP technology studies have detected brainwave signatures for many neurological processes. Duke is working with an early stage biotech company to validate a system (CognisionTM) that uses a pattern recognition engine to rapidly classify a person’s brainwave responses based on similarities to known neurological risk profiles (picture). Such studies might help in the early detection of risk for Alzheimer’s and in monitoring treatment response. Both in normal people and in cognitive disorders, new technologies that integrate psychologic, physiologic and genomic data offer the promise to develop models of individual subject fitness and health at a fundamental level and improve our ability to detect impending deviations from optimal performance. The eventual goal is to develop ‘personalized neuroscience” devices that allow our brains to flourish.


P. Murali Doraiswamy is professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental fitness and brain health. He is a member of the executive committee of the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences and serves as an advisor to leading government agencies, advocacy groups and businesses. He is author of The Alzheimer's Action Plan.

Host/Chair: Affective Computing

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