Mind Reading Not Just Science Fiction?
Study Uses MRI Brain Scans to Trace Spatial Memories in Video Game Players
March 13, 2009 -- Researchers report success in a first attempt at mind
reading -- at least, in hindsight.
In a new study, four healthy young men in England played a video game that
challenged them to move their on-screen character from one spot to another as
quickly as possible. While they played, they got functional MRI brain scans
that focused on a brain area called the hippocampus.
Afterward, the scientists used a computer program that they had written to
analyze the brain scans. They found patterns of brain cell activity in the
hippocampus that revealed where the players had moved their on-screen
"In other words, we could 'read' their spatial memories," professor
Eleanor Maguire, PhD, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at
University College London says in a news release.
That's a long way from being able to decipher complicated thoughts in real
time. But "with this study, we are approaching the realm of mind
reading," Maguire says.
Maguire also says that learning more about how the brain handles memories
may help with research on Alzheimer's disease.
The study appears online in Current Biology.