Magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the brain. Image credit: ShutterStock / Allison Herreid

 
EARTHSKY // SCIENCE WIRE RELEASE DATE: MAR 05, 2013

Mental picture of others can be seen using fMRI, says study

It is now possible to tell who a person is thinking about by analyzing images of their brain, using advanced imaging techniques, according to a new study.

It is possible to tell who a person is thinking about by analyzing images of his or her brain. Our mental models of people produce unique patterns of brain activation, which can be detected using advanced imaging techniques according to a study by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng and his colleagues.

“When we looked at our data, we were shocked that we could successfully decode who our participants were thinking about based on their brain activity,” said Spreng, assistant professor of human development in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology.

Understanding and predicting the behavior of others is a key to successfully navigating the social world, yet little is known about how the brain actually models the enduring personality traits that may drive others’ behavior, the authors say. Such ability allows us to anticipate how someone will act in a situation that may not have happened before.

Read more: Mental picture of others can be seen using fMRI, finds new study | Science Wire | EarthSky.

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