Sarraf Graduates from Gateway PhD Program

Dr. Niloufar Sarraf

Dr. Niloufar Sarraf is the 15th student to graduate from the San José State University-Queensland University of Technology Gateway PhD program.

In her doctoral studies, she conducted experimental research mapping neurophysiological dimensions of the information search processes model. Her dissertation, “Mapping the Neural Activities and Affective Dimensions of the ISP Model: Correlates in the Search for Exploration, Formulation, and Collection Stage,” integrated the three disciplines of neuroscience, information science, and cognitive psychology to help detect dimensions of emotions using electroencephalogram devices.

“The affective neurological components of information retrieval system design have increasingly become an essential part of the research in human-information interaction and interactive information retrieval,” she said.

The study collected brain frequencies through an EMOTIV EEG neuroheadset. The results indicated there were clear differences in the brain frequencies/waves within different locations of the brain, depending on the information search process stage and the emotional state. These sophisticated processes are composed of not only human cognitive processes but also emotional neuropsychological responses. Sarraf’s research contributes her original findings to the field of information science, or more specifically, “neuro information science.”

Sarraf began her doctoral studies in 2011 after receiving a BA in Cognitive Psychology and Statistics and an MS in Human Factors. Her curiosity in the cognitive processes involved in information searching became the impetus for her research. Although completing the PhD program took longer than she anticipated, her experience was positive with great supportive advisors including Dr. Virginia Tucker.

Sarraf has shared her research at several events, including BayCHI and the San Jose SmartData Conference and will be giving a talk on artificial intelligence at the AIShowBiz Summit 3.0 next month. She has also written an ebook, “The Advances of Wearable EEG Neuroheadsets in the Tech and Business Industries,” and is currently working on another entitled, “The New Era of Neuro-Oriented Approach to AI, ML, Robotics Technologies.”

She has worked at SAP labs, Google/IBM, Unity Technologies, but now has her own consulting research business, UXNeuroLabs, where she’s developed a new methodology that introduces and combines user experience and neuroscience to tech companies that offer products or services. Ultimately, she is pursuing her dream of “building virtual research practices/labs to help merge neuroscience within the non-traditional neuroscience industries, such as entertainment, media, marketing, mindfulness, etc.”

Congratulations, Dr. Sarraf!