Using active and passive paradigms to detect consciousness in non-communicative patients

C-lab meeting with a presentation by Marek Binder (in cooperation with Urszula Górska & Marta Brocka).

To study brain activity in patients after severe brain injury two main experimental paradigms are used. In active paradigms patient is required to carry out the task requiring presence of awareness. Measurement of brain activity is aimed at detecting the neural correlates of the task, even in absence of any behavioral indication. In passive paradigms there’s no explicit task given to the subject, and the ongoing brain activity is perturbed by external sensory stimulation or direct stimulation by magnetic impulse. In this case the purpose of the measurement is to estimate the potential of the patient’s neural network to generate awareness. During my presentation I will present the initial findings of my group’s studies on the patients. Our research involved both types of paradigms. In the active paradigm we used correlates of attempted movements to command and in the passive paradigm – auditory steady-state potentials.