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Mathematical Investigation of Neuroscience Dynamics for Meditative Model Identification, Control, Estimation And Observation – MindMadeClear

MindMadeClear

Mathematical Investigation of Neuroscience Dynamics for Meditative Model Identification, Control, Estimation And Observation

Modeling, structural properties study, estimators development

The general goal of this project is threefold. Firstly elaborate simple yet representative dynamical quantitative models for contemplative neuroscience. The latter aims at discovering the short and mid term effects as well as the underlying mechanisms of spirit training (the classical definition for meditation).<br />The models we shall build are population models, i.e. models that account for the mesoscopic activity of cerebral structures and that are especially well suited for estimation and mathematical analysis.<br />These models will be simple enough to be tractable but also representative with respect to the project objectives. Secondly study the dynamical and structural properties of these models, yielding a deeper insight and understanding of them. We shall use tools belonging to systems and control theory. Thirdly, come up with estimators and observers of non measurable quantities, which will be of interest to the practitioner.<br />The three addressed scientific barriers are as follows. First, for oscillator networks, study the interplay between their structural properties and the network graph. Second, develop so-called focused attention (entailing voluntary focusing attention on a chosen object in a sustained fashion) and open monitoring (involving nonreactively monitoring the contents of experience from moment to moment, primarily as a means to recognise the nature of emotional and cognitive patterns) meditation models.<br />The models we shall develop will be quantitative ones (e.g. ordinary integro and partial differential ones), whereas the literature on contemplative neuroscience modelling remain quasi-exclusively qualitative.<br />And third, develop quantitative tools to characterise the cross frequency coupling, and more specifically the phase-amplitude coupling.

On each of the elaborated models, we shall follow these specific steps:
* Elaboration of a lumped or distributed parameter model, through nonlinear differential equations or linear partial differential equations, involving delays when appropriate.
* Identification of the model, using in particular algebraic techniques.
* Study of its dynamical properties (stability, phase space structure).
* Study of its structural properties (differential flatness and freeness) and elaboration of tracking control laws emulating a meditative process.
* Elaboration of estimators of the mental stillness, based on various measures and on the elaborated models.

I - Within Task 1 (experimental framework)
A study was conducted at the CRNL mixing binocular rivalry and affordance, the subject of Sucharit Kaytal's postdoctoral fellowship. Binocular rivalry is the alternation of two perceptions when two very different images are projected, one on each eye; this phenomenon allows access to low level mechanisms of consciousness. Open presence meditation is a way to avoid mental contents grasping. It has been found that the affordance effect (high versus low) is reversed in open presence meditation for expert meditators (and not for novices). The mu neural rhythms follow the effect of behavioural affordance.

A reduced study was conducted at L2S on a protocol with two phases: a breath counting meditation (10min) following a cognitive task of mental calculation/enigma resolution (8min). EEG measurements were used, among others. A mixture of frequency bands was achieved by using random forests. The classification accuracy is just over 90%.

II - Within Task 2 (modelling)
From a modelling point of view, three avenues are being considered:
1. Elaboration of a phenomenological model of focused attention and open presence. This model will be based on the feelings of the meditators. The possible link with some simplified physiological models will be studied.
2. Development of a cardiorespiratory model, investigation of the synchronization between the respiratory and cardiac systems, between the cardiac system and the central nervous system in meditation. Study of cardiac coherence and heart rate variability in meditation.
3. Investigation of models exhibiting phenomena of self-organized criticality. This phenomenon seems to be important in many processes involved in neuroscience.

- Elaboration, simulation and identification of models of the following three classes: phenomenological models of focused attention and open presence meditation forms; cardiorespiratory models; models exhibiting phenomena of self-organized criticality.
- Link between phenomenological models and some simplified physiological models.
- Study of the synchronization between the respiratory and cardiac systems, between the cardiac system and the central nervous system in meditation.
- Study of cardiac coherence and heart rate variability in meditation.

* Peer reviewed journal paper : Antoine Lutz, Jérémie Mattout, Giuseppe Pagnoni, The epistemic and pragmatic value of non-action: a predictive coding perspective on meditation, Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 28, 2019, Pages 166-171, doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.12.019.
* International conférence communication : Why BCIs work poorly with the patients who need them the most? P. Séguin, E. Maby, J. Mattout, European BCI conference, Graz, 2019.

The general goal of this project is threefold. Firstly elaborate simple yet representative dynamical quantitative models for contemplative neuroscience. The latter aims at discovering the short and mid term effects as well as the underlying mechanisms of spirit training (the classical definition for meditation). The models we shall build are population models, i.e. models that account for the mesoscopic activity of cerebral structures and that are especially well suited for estimation and mathematical analysis.These models will be simple enough to be tractable but also representative with respect to the project objectives. Secondly study the dynamical and structural properties of these models, yielding a deeper insight and understanding of them. We shall use tools belonging to systems and control theory. Thirdly, come up with estimators and observers of non measurable quantities, which will be of interest to the practitioner.
The three addressed scientific barriers are as follows. First, for oscillator networks, study the interplay between their structural properties and the network graph. Second, develop so-called focused attention (entailing voluntary focusing attention on a chosen object in a sustained fashion) and open monitoring (involving nonreactively monitoring the contents of experience from moment to moment, primarily as a means to recognise the nature of emotional and cognitive patterns) meditation models.
The models we shall develop will be quantitative ones (e.g. ordinary integro and partial differential ones), whereas the literature on contemplative neuroscience modelling remain quasi-exclusively qualitative. And third, develop quantitative tools to characterise the cross frequency coupling, and more specifically the phase-amplitude coupling.
The work programme consists in four tasks. The first one is the experimental framework, to gather behavioural and neurophysiological data from meditation processes; the second is the elaboration of the dynamical models; the third is the analysis and structural properties of the latter models; the last is the estimation and observer synthesis.
The expected outcomes are a deeper understanding of the meditative processes, the possibility to reconstruct from simple and non invasive measurements some indicators of the mental stillness of the practitioner. The user can then be guided and can see its quantitative progress through time; it could then become a source of motivation for the meditator or could be used for a brain human interface, as a technological tool. In the case of a patient, the medical team around him can also have a quantitative measure of its patient state and evolution.

Project coordination

Hugues Mounier (Laboratoire des Signaux et Systèmes)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

L2S Laboratoire des Signaux et Systèmes
CRNL -Unité Inserm 1028 Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon - UMR 5292 et UMRS 1028
CRAN Centre de recherche en automatique de Nancy
Theoretical Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Help of the ANR 482,976 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2017 - 48 Months

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