Colloquium by Prof. Guy Cheron October 18th 2018

Prof. Guy Cheron, PhD, received his master’s degree in Motor Sciences and his PhD in Neurophysiology, both from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, in 1978 and 1980, respectively. Since 1993, Prof. Cheron is a full Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Movement Biomechanics (LNMB) of the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Director of the Laboratory of Electrophysiology of the University of Mons. In 2003, he received his Aggregation Thesis in Neuroscience at the ULB. In 2012, he co-created Human Waves which is a LNMB spin-off.

From human movement to mental state: a neuroscience perspective for the identification of the psychological flow

The experimental search of psychological “flow” can be accomplished by the combined recording of the electromyographic (EMG), electroencephalographic (EEG) and electrocardiographic (ECG) signals during highly skilled motor performance. This singular brain state emerges from an action requiring clear goal and a perfect match between specifics skills and challenge (Cheron, 2016; Csikszentmihalyi, 1985; Mao et al., 2016). Amongst different sports, the tightrope walker activity appeared as particularly attractive because the highly restrictive field of action requiring optimal balance control permanently exerted at the edges of the fatal fall. As the high density EEG recording represents the dynamics of the brain states resulting from synchronous neuronal activity of local field potentials distributed into temporal and spatial coordinated networks of neurons, we have here quantify in the dynamic EEG signals (ERS, ERD and phase locking) the part of this activity devoted to its downstream impact on motor behaviour and the part of neuronal modulation involved in the constant monitoring of the vital internal organs (e.g. heart and gut) which are permanently regulated by the central nervous system and also implicated in the emergence of the flow. For this the EMGs of lower limb muscles and the ECG signals served as trigger for evoked related potentials (ERP), evoked related spectral perturbation (ERSP) and intertrials coherency (ITC). This analysis was firstly accomplished on Oliver Zimmerman’s brain before and during walking on a long cable (100 m) placed at an altitude of 15 meters. In the second time, slack-line performers were analysed with the same methodology in laboratory. VRS (Oculus-Rift) of a first person view walking on a slackline placed about 100 m height between two towers was presented to the subjects in standing, during real slackline performance and motor imagery. The effects of virtual reality stimulation representing tightrope visual sensation were also studied. The neuronal generators of the different EEG oscillations were studied by means of inverse modelling (swLORETA) (Cebolla et al., 2011, 2014) showing along these performances the respective contribution of different cortical areas, the basal ganglia and the cerebellum.


Cebolla, A.M., Palmero-Soler, E., Dan, B., and Cheron, G. (2011). NeuroImage 54, 1297–1306.

Cebolla, A.M., Palmero-Soler, E., Dan, B., and Cheron, G. (2014). NeuroImage 95, 48–60.

Cheron, G. (2016). Front. Psychol. 7, 1823.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1985). Perspect. Biol. Med. 28, 489–497.

Mao, Y., Roberts, S., Pagliaro, S., Csikszentmihalyi, M., and Bonaiuto, M. (2016). Front. Psychol. 7, 67.


Date: October 18th 2018
Time: 16.00 – 17.00
Drinks: 17.00 – 18.00
Location: Main Building. HG 8A-20