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Scientists discover a way to read your mind.

Published Monday, May 02, 2005

We are living in a world where we have little or no privacy at all due to the advancement in science and technology. Such is the price of modernization. Now it is possible that even the private thoughts and events we experience in our daily life in our head are now at risk. It is now possible to go into your mind and retrieve information on images or events seen. Am I joking or am I talking science fiction? Well, if you believe this is not so, you are in for a surprise! With the rapid improvement in technology and science anything is possible in this day of age. Last year July an article in New Scientist titled
“Brain implants 'read' monkey minds” told us we had it coming. Psychologists for instance, have spent centuries scientifically studying the human mind, its functions and how the mental characteristics of a person affect behavior in a given situation. In other words, they are finding ways to predict our thought- process based on our behavior under certain conditions. Now we are approaching a whole new branch of science pertaining to the mind. I wonder what scientists will call this area of study? Now, lets get to the article.

Scientific American reported last week that Nature Neuroscience published two documents showing that two scientists Yukiyasu Kamitani who work for ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, and Frank Tong of Princeton University, US came up with a science breaking experiment which use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of humans to reveal successfully images of events that they have seen without them even remembering seeing it.

Volunteers were showed one of eight patterns of lines aligned in various orientations. What Kamitani and Tong analyze from MRI data collected from scanning the brain was that, they were able to recognize which pattern of the various orientations that the volunteers were viewing or concentrating on. This was made possible with the help of a computer program that both wrote which recognized the patterns of brain activity that correspond to each pattern orientation and therefore, could successfully read what specific pattern each volunteer saw.

In the world of science all scientific experiments that lead to new discoveries, must be able to be tested by other scientists and must give similar results or it must not deviate very far from the original, in order for it to be accepted as valid. Any experiment that cannot be repeated by other colleagues in the science community following the given methods, is seen as invalid and is therefore discarded. Now, a second experiment according to Scientific American was also done to reinforce this by John-Dylan Haynes and Geraint Rees of University College London. In this experiment, volunteers were shown two images in quick successions; the first image was flashed very quickly so that the volunteers didn’t have time to identify the image clearly. When their brain activity were analyzed surprisingly, they successfully identified which image pattern had been shown without the volunteers even remember seeing that specific image.

When this discovery becomes fully understood and fine tuned, this would no doubt prove useful in medicine, as well as, in fighting crime. For example, it could be used to find the state of the mind through the brain activity of a patient in coma. This would additional help in the crucial decision of saving a persons life. Crime wise, it could also revolutionize crime-fighting strategies used by government agencies, allowing them to read the minds of crime suspects. There are certainly much more uses than the two mentioned above. There are some advantages as well as, disadvantages if such a method should ever become refined and accepted. Which one out weights the other? You be the Judge.

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