Tag Archives: thoughts

The Science of Mind-reading, part II

Group 13: Project Plan

Our project, as described previously, is to investigate the science of “mind-reading.”

We will perform a review of primary literature as found through the library’s many databases to understand where this technology is today and where it may go in the future. Most of this research will be done independently; we will meet weekly (the day will vary week to week based on our individual schedules) to compile the information we find. Relevant data and results from recent fMRI studies will be presented in our poster.

Each of us will focus on a specific topic:

  • Maddy: How fMRI (the primary tech used for “mind-reading”) works
  • Adam: Current research being done
  • Jackie: Applications of “mind-reading” technology

We expect to find that although no one can currently “read” a person’s thoughts, memories, or dreams, researchers are working on this — right now, you need to obtain template images of a person’s brain during different activities for later comparisons and predictions about what the person is thinking. Reading “abstract” thoughts isn’t yet possible.

The science of mind-reading

girl wearing an EEG cap, with white electrodes in a hair-net-like cap over her head

Jackie, member of Group 13, in Vassar's EEG lab

Group 13: Project Abstract

Memory manipulation and the idea that one’s thoughts could be recorded and “read” by another person show up in many science fiction films, such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Inception, and Minority Report. These films inspire our project: We intend to explore the science of “mind-reading.” We will look at primary literature in the field to investigate how technology such as fMRI and electroencephalography (EEG) can be used to measure the electrical and magnetic activity of brains. Applications of such technology, if it works reliably to access people’s thoughts, memories, and dreams, would be widespread, from assessing psychological conditions to lie detection in criminal cases. We will present the results of our investigation in a poster.