EEG is one of the oldest methods for assessing the relationship between brain and behaviour, and provides a direct real-time measure of neural activity. EEG is recorded using electrodes placed at specific locations across the scalp; hence it is relatively inexpensive and easy to apply. Until now, equipment restrictions have limited research to the laboratory, but recent advances in mobile EEG equipment have opened up a wealth of new research opportunities. EEG provides limited spatial resolution about the origins of neural activity, but it has exceedingly high temporal resolution – making it ideal for tracking the rapid execution of sensory, cognitive and motor processes in real-world contexts.


fNIRS utilizes optical beams of light to monitor blood flow changes in response to brain activation. Near-infrared light is beamed onto the surface of the scalp and the level of oxygenation in the underlying region is inferred from the degree of absorption detected as light exits the head, providing an indirect measure of neural activity. Over the last two decades fNIRS has been applied across a wide range of topic areas, but the bulk of research has been conducted under laboratory conditions. Recently, reports of battery operated wearable/wireless multi-channel systems being used to obtain reliable data in freely moving subjects have started to emerge, demonstrating that fNIRS is indeed a powerful tool for brain measurement during motion in real-world contexts. One of the key advantages of fNIRS is ease of integration with other methods including EEG, making it possible to obtain complimentary temporal and spatial information.

Eye tracking

Eye-movement measures provide a unique way to assess the processing of visual information in real-time in naturalistic settings. Mobile eye tracking has already been employed successfully in a large number of research areas including advertising, psycholinguistics, neuroscience and sports research. Eye tracking devices use video images to extract information on eye position and measure eye rotation using the device as a static frame of reference. Eye-tracking technology is most often used to track the orientation of visual attention in cognitive research contexts, and combining this approach with other physiological measures in naturalistic settings facilitates identification of key environmental features influencing brain and behaviour dynamics.

Motion Capture and EMG

Electromyography (EMG) and motion capture techniques have been widely used in sports research to track movement for a number of decades. EMG provides a record of electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles recorded from electrodes placed on the surface of the skin. Motion capture techniques employ multiple video cameras, which track markers worn by the subject, to calculate 3D positions in space. Theories of embodied cognition highlight the importance of the body and its interaction with the environment in shaping cognition. Combining EMG and motion capture with other mobile technologies enables the relationship between body, brain and behaviour dynamics to be directly assessed in three-dimensional naturalistic environments.