home
RSS
Can brain scientists read your mind?
This is a grid of numbered electrodes, with many contacts on the brain. Each contact is like a "spying microphone" capturing the activity of hundreds of thousands of cells, says Dr. Josef Parvizi.
October 15th, 2013
11:01 AM ET

Can brain scientists read your mind?

What are you thinking about? You wouldn’t always want the answer to that question available to others, but science may be heading in that direction.

For now, researchers are far from being able to tap into your thoughts. But a new study shows how, just by looking at brain activity, it may be possible to see whether or not you're thinking about numbers.

"The patient doesn’t need to talk to you. They can think about numbers and you can see that red mark (corresponding with activity in a particular brain region) go up," said Dr. Josef Parvizi, associate professor of neurology at the Stanford University Medical Center and senior author of the study. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Take note, this study was done on only three people with uncontrolled seizures - that's a tiny sliver of humanity. But Parvizi said most studies on patients with intracranial electrodes only involve two to five participants, since recruitment is so difficult.

These patients had electrodes implanted in their brains to locate the source of their seizures. Surgeons perform this procedure to isolate or remove the area where seizures begin.

The researchers used these electrodes that had been implanted for locating seizures to investigate brain activity in relation to thinking about numbers, particularly in the parietal lobe. In previous studies, this brain area has been shown to be important to a person's ability to do numerical calculations.

In one part of the experiment, patients looked at a computer screen while lying down and responded to prompts regarding the accuracy of statements. They would press "one" if the sentence or mathematical equation were correct, "two" if incorrect.

Each time a patient would perform a calculation, a group of neurons in the parietal lobe - specifically a region called the intraparietal sulcus - was very active, Parvizi said.

In another part of this study, researchers used a computer to trace the activity of the same group of neurons in the patients in an unconstrained setting. They recorded conversations between patients and experimenters, and juxtaposed the brain activity data to show the correlations between spiking activity in the math-related brain region and quantitative statements that patients made.

When patients were seeing, thinking or talking without a script, it seemed that the natural activation in the parietal lobe tended to occur right before they said something quantitative, Parvizi said. It didn't happen every time, of course; more research would be needed to verify these findings.

Oxford University researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh called this “an innovative study that shows a nice relationship between neuronal activity during experimental setting and everyday situations.” But he pointed out that it is unclear whether the same results would be seen in healthy people, whose brains had not experienced seizures. Other studies have found multiple brain areas related to numerical understanding.

The bottom line: Just by looking at the data about brain activity, it may be possible to know when a person was thinking about numbers.

This is much simpler than trying to decode more specific thoughts from brain activity patterns. There's no way for scientists to know if you are daydreaming about hiking with your romantic partner, worrying about finishing a big project or making a grocery list.

"We are light years behind in doing such a thing. There is absolutely no way for us to kind of record what exactly the patient is thinking because that needs a lot of complicated decoding," Parvizi said.

Instead, this study presents a method of studying brain activity in order to get a general sense of what a person is experiencing through thoughts.

"Of course, it's just a matter of time (before) you're going to be able to decode brain activity in very complex conditions, such as thinking," Parvizi said.

Mind control? Brain controls brain in new demonstration


soundoff (773 Responses)
  1. used car dealers near me

    http://www.toughoneproducts.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.reviewnearme.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://www.google.ie/url?q=https://www.yamatocosmos.com

    June 12, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. christmas lights near me

    http://fewiki.jp/link.php?http://quotenearme.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rebecca Heath

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

    http://razakam.blogspot.com/2009/05/too-many-thoughts.html

    June 12, 2021 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 전주출장마사지

    I was able to find good info from your articles.

    https://iway.rosemont.edu/ICS/Campus_Life/Campus_Groups/Organization_of_African_American_Students/Home.jnz?portlet=Discussion_Board&screen=PostView&screenType=change&id=bfa70f9f-1569-4ba8-bb36-37f5eae01fdd

    June 12, 2021 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. gym near me

    http://savepolaroid.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bonus-books.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 23:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. storage unit near me

    After exploring a number of the blog posts on your site, I really appreciate your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my web site as well and let me know your opinion.

    http://midoc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=hootnholler.net

    June 12, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. theater near me

    http://www.cheftom.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bonus-books.com

    June 12, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. notary near me

    Good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!

    https://track.icommercemarketing.com/tracking202/redirect/cl2.php?q=http3A2F2Fhootnholler.net

    June 13, 2021 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. buy here pay here near me

    I was able to find good info from your blog posts.

    http://www.xyzprinting.com/prc?e=11p541&redir=https://hootnholler.net

    June 13, 2021 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 인천 출장안마

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people don't speak about these issues. To the next! All the best!!

    http://webmax.com.ua/user/cubcandle1/

    June 13, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 출장마사지

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a very good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a whole lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.

    https://postheaven.net/visionearth78/massage-services-in-my-country

    June 13, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. hardware store near me

    Excellent web site you have got here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://nutritionaltherapeutix.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bjsnearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. mattress store near me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this topic here on your web page.

    http://www.mandril.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=reviewnearme.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Shawana Gamotan

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/04/select-a-quest-if-you-were-a-museum-what-boeing-airplanes-would-you-choose/

    http://privatejetstoday.blogspot.com/2010/08/private-jet-flight-attendant-jobs.html

    June 13, 2021 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Erich Colavito

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I've found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & help other users like its helped me. Great job.

    http://google.com.sb/url?q=https://issuu.com/msquareshop

    June 13, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rent a car near me

    http://deluxeworldwide.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=hootnholler.net

    June 13, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. bitcoin atm near me

    http://www.smwauto.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bestshopnearme.com/

    June 13, 2021 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. sears near me

    http://www.optofx.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=bulknearme.com

    June 13, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 케이출장

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

    http://idea.informer.com/users/testbat13/?what=personal

    June 13, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to Wilmer Dobesh


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.