Researchers are one step closer to developing mind-reading technology, according to an article recently published about the use of MRI technology in successfully determining 19 subjects’ thoughts.
Cornell University’s R. Nathan Spreng and colleagues conducted a study which discovered different brain patterns for different thoughts.
They asked the participants to think about four different people, and it turns out, the brain had distinctly different activity for each person they thought about.
This enabled researchers to determine who the person was thinking about by looking at the MRI.
“When we looked at our data, we were shocked that we could successfully decode who our participants were thinking about based on their brain activity,” Spreng said.
The test asked 19 young adults to learn about the personalities of four people who had distinctly different personality traits. They were then asked to imagine different scenarios, like sitting on a bus, and asked how the specific person would respond.
As their brains were scanned during this activity, they found that activity in the medial prefrontal cortex was associated with each of the personalities. This made it possible to accurately predict who the person was thinking of based on the brain pattern.
Many people are understandably upset over such technology, especially after Google CEO Eric Schmidt made some comments about it.
A few years ago, Schmidt said about mind-reading technology, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
The comment had many worried over the possibility of misusing this type of technology.
One writer, Kathleen Taylor, also quoted him in her book and titled an article about him called “Mind reading is possible!”
In the article, she said MRI scans were once thought of as “prettily descriptive but doing little for real understanding,” but now the recent tests acknowledged it as the best “hope that we could bypass the need to infer mental content from external cues. This superpower of practical telepathy: detecting and decoding minds at source.”
She said the technology will likely be studied more as it could prevent crime, espionage, and be used for psychiatry, medicine, and entertainment.