Cognition in action: imaging brain/body dynamics in mobile humans

Rev Neurosci. 2011;22(6):593-608. doi: 10.1515/RNS.2011.047. Epub 2011 Nov 10.


We have recently developed a mobile brain imaging method (MoBI), that allows for simultaneous recording of brain and body dynamics of humans actively behaving in and interacting with their environment. A mobile imaging approach was needed to study cognitive processes that are inherently based on the use of human physical structure to obtain behavioral goals. This review gives examples of the tight coupling between human physical structure with cognitive processing and the role of supraspinal activity during control of human stance and locomotion. Existing brain imaging methods for actively behaving participants are described and new sensor technology allowing for mobile recordings of different behavioral states in humans is introduced. Finally, we review recent work demonstrating the feasibility of a MoBI system that was developed at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, demonstrating the range of behavior that can be investigated with this method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Human Body*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Neuroimaging*