The lab’s missions are to promote cognitive neuroscience research including national and international collaborations, and to train qualified researchers.
We conduct studies on human and non-human primates to understand neural basis of mental functions, such as perception, memory, emotion, communication, etc. We adopt various techniques in our studies like followings.
・recording the brain electrical activity, such as single neuronal activity and electroencephalography
・analyzing anatomical connections with tracer injection
・nvestigating the impacts of neurotransmitters and hormones on brain functions and behavior
・imaging human brain activation related to cognitive functions using fMRI
・analyzing complicated behavior of primates
When we compare the brain size among various animals, we could recognize the brain sizes of mammals and birds are greater than those of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles. Among mammals and birds, the species living in complex social structure and using complex communication tend to evolve the bigger brain in proportion to its body size. Social interaction is probably an important selection pressure on the evolution of the brain.
The brain research has been conducted using various kinds of experimental animals. For example, flies and mice have advantages in terms of genetic manipulation and contributed to various research areas including memory research. However, when we attempt to understand human brain functions and the relationship between brain and mind, we don't think that flies and mice are suitable subjects because the structures and functions of the brain are far different between human and these animals. To this end, we believe that studies on nonhuman primates are essential. In addition, nonhuman primate research is indispensable to investigate the cause of neurological diseases and mental disorders and to develop efficient drugs and the methods of medical treatment because immune and nervous systems of nonhuman primates are very similar to those of human.