[Monday, December 24] Merry Christmas from the other side

Today is a special day, after all we are the 24th of December! To be honest, to me it is like it is still October right now. It has been an intense semester, with almost no time for rest. I can feel tired sometimes, but it is only physically. It is a strange feeling to have his body saying ‘Stop for today’, or ‘Stop for this week-end’, but at the same time the brain says ‘Oh please, write one more section, read one more chapter, analyze one more participant’s data!’. The funny part from this is that even if I can feel exhausted sometimes, it doesn’t influence my motivation to work harder, to do more and to answer more research questions!

This week can really be like one of my most productive one. I finished the statistical analysis of my experiment, and with my advisor, we already know how to make a follow-up experiment. For this experiment, I used ERP techniques – it’s like having a cap on the head with electrodes measuring the electric activity of the brain. As I was looking at what happens in the brain of my participants, I made them perform a task, so that I know they won’t think of something I don’t care about. I had great results, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have dreamt of better results. The problem with ERP is that it doesn’t have a good spatial resolution… What does it mean? It means that it might be the case that two or three brain areas have been activated at the same time for one moment, but I don’t know which of them! The effect on the brain activity from my experiment are kind of big, and that’s good. But they were so big that they mixed with each other, so I can’t differenciate them! The solution? Using another complementary technique, fMRI, which is like directly scanning the brain of people!

It is so exciting for me, it will be the first time I use fMRI for my own research! I can’t wait for this, and on Wednesday, I will attend a whole-day workshop to learn how to analyze data from fMRI studies. On Friday I will attend another workshop to know more about how it works. Is it destiny, to have facilities and workshops just when I want to use this technique?

This week, I also wrote the summaries of two chapter of one of the most classic book of my field, and I finished this book! My co-advisor was happy for the summaries, so I can finally move on and read like books with more advanced analyses! Ok, in fact I already began. When I read them before, I was kind of confused about what I was reading, and I needed a lot of times to really enter into the details of the analyses. But this time has been so different, it was so clear to me. I really wish I could have met my co-advisor earlier, she is a REAL advisor, not giving me the “only way” to do it, but helping finding my own way to answer my questions!

But for now, there is a Taiwanese Christmas to celebrate, with close friends! It’s finally cold outside, finally a Winter atmosphere is here in Taipei! I hope they will like my French way to cook food!

And as always, a picture! This one has been taken in “Jiaosi”, a village near Taipei, between mountains, and full of hot springs. I needed to relax this Sunday, so I went there, and then I ate like jellied tofu in this little shop. It was so relaxing and helpful to begin this week!


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