Experimental Research in the Humanities

HUME lab: A unique workplace with high-technology equipment

The HUME lab is a unique humanities research centre in the Czech Republic. It has high-tech equipment for experimental research, including a motion capture system and devices for measuring heart rates, brain waves (ECG, EEG),and changes in hormone levels. This technology enables research teams to implement methodologically unique research projects that enhance understanding of human cognitive processes and interpersonal interactions. The technology also addresses the central problems associated with the exploration of individual and social thought.

Study of human nature and communication

The HUME lab’s high-tech facilities provide equipment for experimental research into a wide range of aspects of human nature and communication, such as empathy and solidarity, group hierarchies and dynamics, communication in education, emotional experience, empathy and trust, group cooperation, and religious behaviour and thought. The lab enables the considerable enrichment of the knowledge of various disciplines grouped under the heading of humanities and social sciences, including anthropology, archaeology, economics, educational sciences, history, linguistics, psychology, and religious studies. It reflects a new general trend in world science that lies in the integration of the humanities and experimental approaches. This integration should enrich the existing research into the social sciences and humanities through experimental approaches. By highlighting innovative approaches and strengthening opportunities for cooperation among different disciplines, the HUME lab supports interdisciplinary research that addresses cross-cutting issues.

Methods and research styles

The methods used to achieve the objectives include:

  1. implementing experimental methods and modern technologies that enable new kinds of quantification and measurement of physiological data;
  2. bridging the gap between laboratory and field research through the use of portable laboratory equipment, especially within experimental anthropology;
  3. collaborating with researchers in the natural sciences while developing innovative techniques for addressing social science and humanities issues.

Equipment

In order to carry out its activities, the HUME lab infrastructure has the latest research technology to enable presenting research incentives, measuring physiological functions, and monitoring social interactions:

  • interactive 3D projection system
  • eye-tracking systems, including mobile eye-tracking glasses
  • brain activity monitors – EEG, fNIRS
  • physiological functions monitors (heart rate, blood pressure, skin resistance)
  • monitors for physical activity and movement and sociometric monitors

Further Research Topics

Office for Research and Development

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