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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Breakthrough Could Enable Others to Watch Your Dreams and Memories [Video]

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Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have reconstructed the internal "movie" that plays in a person's head. To re-create dynamic visual experiences, they used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of volunteers (the other members of the research team) as they watched short movie clips (left panel in the video below). A computational model crunched the fMRI data to reproduce the images, as shown in the right panel.

The team, led by Shinji Nishimoto and Jack Gallant, say that the technology is decades away from enabling people to read others’ thoughts and intentions. It could become a powerful tool to communicate with people who cannot verbalize, such as stroke victim and coma patients. This visual image reconstruction study appears in the September 22 Current Biology.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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