The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Can we read minds with a brain scanner?  (Read 3139 times)

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
Can we read minds with a brain scanner?
« on: 27/05/2010 11:30:55 »
We discover a way to read a personís thoughts using a brain scanner...
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here
or Listen to it now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 27/05/2010 11:30:55 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Thanked: 12 times
    • View Profile
Can we read minds with a brain scanner?
« Reply #1 on: 27/05/2010 11:30:55 »
Listen to this interview on our podcast by clicking here
« Last Edit: 27/05/2010 11:30:55 by _system »
 

Offline stereologist

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 125
    • View Profile
    • Stereothena
Can we read minds with a brain scanner?
« Reply #2 on: 13/04/2010 13:16:22 »
There are quite a few studies in which brain activity is related to things people are thinking or watching. In one experiment the group was able to create an image from fMRI data. This is a method of looking at the blood flow in the brain. In another experiment the people used fMRI data to figure out which of several video clips was being watched. Brain waves which are electrical signals picked up on the skin surface have also been used.
 

Offline Enki

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Can we read minds with a brain scanner?
« Reply #3 on: 14/04/2010 16:49:07 »
Only in the loosest possible sense. PET allows us to see which parts of the brain are receiving the most glucose and hence presumed to be most active. This is useful, but it looks at a very complex organ in a very rough way. Researchers may recognize that region X is active when the subject focuses on Y, but region X contains billions of neurons. We don't have any of the finer details about what is going on there.

An analogy would be someone trying to understand what's going on in your computer with a thermometer. Electronic components generate heat when they're active, the more active they are the more heat they generate. By checking the temperatures of your computer's components someone could make some educated guesses about what the machine is doing. If your network card and one of your hard drives are active, you're probably downloading from a network. If your GPU is getting hot, you might be playing a game.

Reading your computer's mind though would be impossible. Open up a text editor and type your thoughts in the window, then ask the temperature observer, "What is my computer thinking right now?" (what did I just type). The observer has no hope of guessing from the info she has. In a similar way PET couldn't be used to 'read your mind'. Researchers might have a shot at guessing the rough sort of thought you are having. But they couldn't even get close to the specific idea.
 


The Naked Scientists Forum

Can we read minds with a brain scanner?
« Reply #4 on: 15/04/2010 03:24:26 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums