Professor Arcangelo Merla visits Professor Laura-Ann Petitto in her Gallaudet Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) regarding their Keck and NSF INSPIRE research projects. (February 28, 2018)

Professor Merla just finished making cutting-edge improvements to BL2’s Thermal Infrared (IR) Imaging Camera. The Thermal IR Imaging Camera uses state-of-the-art technology to detect and record changes in emotional engagement, attention, and arousal in young children and adults.

Professor Merla has pioneered the integration of this Thermal Infrared Imaging system with eye-tracking technology (a behavioral measure of attention) and Petitto’s functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) brain imaging technology (which measures the neural activity underlying the human brain’s processing of higher cognitive functions such as Language, reading, and visual processing). By uniting this trilogy of technologies (fNIRS, Thermal IR imaging, and Eye-tracking) Merla has rendered the first system that weds the measurement of the neural activity mediating human higher cognition with the underlying physiological states associated with human emotion (specifically, parasympathetic/engaged as compared with sympathetic/agitated states associated with learning, language processing, memory, and social interactions.