September 24th, 2021
SIG: Inclusion in Neuroscience - Post 3
Author: Ryan Barash
Undergraduate intern for the B-RAD Lab at the University of Alabama
This past week in the B-RAD Lab, we talked about difficulties that EEG participants with coarse and curly hair may face in a research setting. Researchers must keep in mind that it can cause a great inconvenience to ask a participant to change their hairstyle. Instead, researchers should come up with solutions for working around different hairstyles that individuals may have. The B-Rad lab often uses EEG to conduct our experiments. The EEG caps consist of electrodes that need to reach the scalp of the participant in order to record their brain activity. The problem that EEG researchers sometimes face is that depending on the hair type of the participant, the electrodes on the cap may struggle to stay in contact with the scalp which can lead to noisy data.
A possible solution to combat discomfort the participants may have or any concerns relating to the data is to be patient and ensure that the comfort of the participant is top priority. Trial and error are expected. Letting participants know ahead of time that the researchers may play around with their hair to get more accurate results can help mentally prepare the participant prior to their research session. Informing participants that their hair will get wet or that they will have a soft stretchy cap placed on their head helps facilitate communication, trust, and comfort between the participant and researcher. The end goal is to help everyone involved in the study feel as comfortable as possible while gathering accurate data. Here at the B-Rad lab, we strive to do exactly that by prioritizing inclusivity in our research space at all times.
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