Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Technology

Worst Science Article of the Week: We Can See Your Dreams!

DiscoblogBy Boonsri DickinsonDecember 17, 2008 4:34 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

mind-read.jpg

A group of Japanese researchers are claiming that their “mind-reading” machine can read people’s dreams. While it sounds like a novel idea, this is certainly not the first claim from scientists that they can depict what a person sees based on their brain activity—nor the last. Brain imaging has been around for ages. Typically, when fMRI machines are used to read people’s brain activity, the different states are classified into categories and then used to predict a person’s “perceptual state.” So what these ATR Computational Neuroscience researchers are saying they can do is actually reconstruct what a person is seeing. But can they really? In the study, published in Neuron, the researchers flashed 400 images in front of subjects for 12 seconds each. An fMRI machine was used to collect brain activity data, which was then analyzed on a computer to determine patterns linked to how the brain reacted when it saw the images. When the subjects were shown images of letters that read "neuron," the fMRI picked up the brain activity, and once the computer analyzed the brain waves, the word neuron appeared on a screen—indicating a successful translation of a single word. But reading letters is a far cry from being able to read out the complex thoughts and images that make up a dream. So for now anyway, to any researchers claiming to catch your dreams, we say "dream on." Related content: Discoblog: Mind-Reading Machine Puts Woman in Jail for Murder

Image: flickr / o2k49

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In