On Monday, November 13, 2023, the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Bucharest, through the Department of Applied Psychology and Psychotherapy, organized and hosted the inauguration event of the Psychological Research and Professional Training Laboratory, the best equipped “eye tracking laboratory” in Romania, which was endowed within the Project Successful Career in Psychology!, POCU/626/6/13/130770 (project director, prof. Adrian Luca, PhD, teaching staff at FPSE).
At the inauguration of the laboratory, located in the premises of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of UB (Șos. Panduri, no. 90, sector 5), took part prof. Marian Preda, PhD, rector of UB, teaching staff of the faculties of Psychology and Educational Sciences and Sociology and Social Work, as well as other guests from the UB community.
During the event, the eye tracking equipment that uses eye tracking devices (fixed and mobile) were tested, including the EyeLink 1000 Plus (the best performing eye tracking that exists worldwide today), the guests familiarizing themselves, at the same time, with laboratory devices for monitoring and biofeedback. Project members also introduced to the participants the high-performance software used for facial and voice expression analysis, as well as behavioral video.
Prof. Marian Preda, PhD, welcomed the openness of project members to share and collaborate with other colleagues from the UB academic community to capitalize the resources of this laboratory in scientific research, in training of BA, MA and PhD students, as well as in other fields of activity: in the area of psychotherapeutic intervention, in diagnostics, managing emotions, developing socio-emotional and entrepreneurial skills, discourse analysis, etc.“From my point of view, an operational plan for at least one year and with a perspective for the following is welcome in the coming period”, pointed out prof. Marian Preda, PhD, rector of the University of Bucharest.
From idea to a concrete result
Also, lect. Adrian Luca, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Psychological Research and Professional Training and of the Successful Career in Psychology! project, teaching staff at the Department of Applied Psychology and Psychotherapy of FPSE, explained what steps were taken to emerge the idea of establishing such a laboratory. “The Psychological Research and Professional Training Laboratory was established in 2019, being part, among others, in funding within a European project, CARPSI, completed in 2023. Within this, the hall was renovated and equipped, being equipped with all eye tracking equipment, voice, facial and behavioral video analysis, Forbrain headsets, Virtual Reality glasses with eye tracking elements included. The rest of the ILF and EEG neurofeedback equipment was acquired through a subsequent project, Well Mind Mental health and resilience of social workers: from the pandemic and beyond.
The project we are currently working on and for which we are gathering research data for impact publications is still going on for another year”, said lect. Adrian Luca, PhD.At the same time, prof. Florin Lazăr, PhD, teaching staff at the Faculty of Sociology and Social Work of the University of Bucharest, team coordinator of the FSAS Social Work Department and director of the current project, Well Mind, summarized information on the planned and achieved results within it, recalling the close collaboration between the FSAS team and that of the Department of Applied Psychology and Psychotherapy of the FPSE.
“First of all, what we are doing with this project is to see what the effectiveness of different types of interventions to reduce professional stress among social workers: neurofeedback – ILF, mindfulness as well as a mixed one. In the longer term, the idea is to increase the proportion of Social Welfare workers who stay in the field and, despite the difficulties they face and the day-to-day stress, they could be supported to cope these situations, in order to offer better services to the beneficiaries”, emphasized prof. Florin Lazar, PhD.
He recalled that three groups of social workers have already benefited from the applications made available in the laboratory, currently only one of the 100 participants remains.
Latest generation equipment
The UB laboratory is equipped with various eye-tracking equipment, as well as devices using this type of technology: EyeLink 1000 Plus, Pupil Core glasses, Pupil Invisible glasses, as well as VR (virtual reality) glasses with built-in eye tracker.
The eye tracker is a fixed or mobile device that can detect and measure monocular or binocular movements, pupil diameter and focus point with high accuracy. It usually includes in its architecture several micro-cameras of high frequency and precision.
EyeLink 1000 Plus, made in Canada, is one of the most accurate eye trackers, using a binocular capture frequency of up to 2000 Hz. It can be adapted for various mounts, with lenses that can be changed according to preferences, with the possibility of keeping the head fixed, or with its free movements during tasks.Pupil Core glasses, device made in Germany, uses the following software: Pupil Capture (real time application) and Pupil Player (which allows post-hoc visualization and data analysis).
Pupil Core is used for a variety of research purposes, being a robust, modular, durable and lightweight device. The device can be used for measuring the eye focus point and pupillometry.
Pupil Invisible Glasses, the first eye tracking device that looks and feels like a regular pair of glasses, with built-in AI.
VR glasses (virtual reality) with built-in eye tracker, is used in various areas of research and interventions, the laboratory being equipped with one of the best performing models – HTC pro eye.There are also several laboratory devices for monitoring and biofeedback, including the Forbrain Bone Conduction Audio Feedback Headset, an audio feedback device used to improve speech and cognitive skills for both children and adults. Audio feedback is transferred through the cranial bone system to optimize pronunciation, verbal flow and speech rhythm.The laboratory will use advanced software and applications that can be used to perform behavioral video analysis (Observer XT), voice and speech analysis (Phonanium’s Clinical Voice Lab), as well as facial expression analysis (iMotions).The laboratory has other ongoing projects in the field of mental health, being open to new training and research partnerships.Interested people can learn more about the projects and activities of the Laboratory of Psychological Research and Professional Training at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.