brain

Don't run for the tinfoil hats just yet, but you might want to keep them nearby. Two successful studies in the US and UK have shown that it's possible to use brain scans to determine which of a set of stimuli a subject was paying attention to. In the UK version, subjects were shown patterns of red and blue stripes. Researchers used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, natch) to monitor visual cortex activity while the subjects switched their attention between the two images. The patterns led to brain activity specific enough that the researchers were then able to use the data to reliably predict which image the volunteers were looking at. The US version had subjects attend to different clips of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (that staple of visual stimulation), and were able to use the resulting brain scan imagery to later predict which scene subjects were watching. Mind-reading machines are still a long way off, but someday they'll be able to alternately save or destroy marriages everywhere.

[Via Slashdot]

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