Friday, December 30, 2011
Scientists can now read minds, says UCLA
Text: Jennifer Marcus (UCLA Newsroom, Dec. 20, 2011)
UCLA neuroscientists demonstrate advances in "brain reading"
Innovative machine learning method anticipates neurocognitive changes, similar to predictive text-entry for cell phones and Internet search engines.
At UCLA's Laboratory of Integrative Neuroimaging Technology, researchers use functional MRI brain scans to observe brain signal changes that take place during mental activity. They then employ computerized machine learning (ML) methods to study these patterns and identify the cognitive state -- or sometimes the thought process -- of human subjects. The technique is called "brain reading" or "brain decoding."
In a new study, the UCLA research team describes several crucial advances in this field, using fMRI and machine learning methods to perform "brain reading" on smokers experiencing nicotine cravings.
The research, presented last week at the Neural Information Processing Systems' Machine Learning and Interpretation in Neuroimaging workshop in Spain, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is interested in using these to help people control drug cravings. More