Scientists bring mind reading step closer to reality (Re-issue)

March 15th, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 15 (ANI): Researchers from University College London claim to have invaded the realm of mindreading a little further - by telling where a person is “standing”, on the basis of the pattern of activity in the brain alone.

In the new study, the research team offers compelling evidence that the hippocampus, a region of the brain critical to navigation, memory, and imagining future experiences, works in a structured and predictable way.

“You can predict where someone is standing by reading the patterns in their brain activity,” said Demis Hassabis of University College London.

“You can track what is purely an internal thought,” he added.

“With this kind of research, we are approaching the realm of mindreading,” added Eleanor Maguire, also of University College London.

During the study, the team led by Hassabis, Maguire asked four participants to navigate to target locations within a virtual reality room while their brains were scanned with a functional magnetic resonance imager (fMRI).

They then applied a sophisticated analytical procedure known as multivariate pattern classification to see if they could relate the pattern of brain activity to each individual’’s location in virtual space.

The researchers uncovered certain brain patterns that reflected participants” memory for where they were.

Once they had reached their final destination, there were no visual cues to discern one target spot from another.

The activity they examined spanned some two to five million of the 40 million or so cells in the hippocampus, Hassabis noted.

The findings are published in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. (ANI)

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