Stimulated Hypnagogia for Creativity
Kathleen Esfahany, Christina Chen, and Adam Haar Horowitz 2019

How can dreams affect creativity?

Using sensors to detect when people entered a sleep state called hypnagogia, we experimented with how a stimulus delivered as they were falling asleep could affect their dreams and their post-sleep creativity. We found that, given a stimulus in hypnagogia, people were almost guaranteed to dream about it. Moreover, post-sleep, they were much more creative with topics that they had encountered in their dreams.

I conducted this research with the Fluid Interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.


Organization of Neural Population Code in Mouse Visual System
Kathleen Esfahany, Isabel Siergiej, Yuan Zhao, and Il Memming Park 2018

How do mice process what they see? 

Using calcium imaging data from the Allen Brain Observatory, I did a population decoding analysis to investigate visual processing in six areas of the mouse visual cortex.

I found that each cortical area differs in its representation of spatiotemporal features of the visual space. Anatomical trends in these different representations suggest streams of information processing in the mouse visual cortex.

I conducted this research with Il Memming Park's Computational and Theoretical Neural Information Processing (CATNIP) Lab at Stony Brook University as a Fellow in the Simons Summer Research Program.