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Brain scan faster than scan

  1. Feb 21, 2016 #1
    So if I scan the brain precisely at the synapse level by observing the sodium firing, it is easy for me to obtain the result behind by a few milisecond, but what if I want to get the result ahead by a few milisecond, is it possible to predict a person's thought? And if the scan is my real brain it would be like back to the future type of setting?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2016 #2


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    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    If you're interested in the "Back to the Future" movies the science fiction forum is over here.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  4. Feb 21, 2016 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    I think you have it backwards. Ideation (creating a thought) is one of the products of all the computing going on in the brain. Think of it this way: Your brain is a massively parallel processor. So, you have it backwards - "thoughts" are second: neural processing is first. If you insist on linearity, which is not a great idea anyway, especially in this case. In any case you are asking for time travel with a brain scan. No.

    Otherwise @Choppy is correct - take your question to the speculation section - Science Fiction.
  5. Feb 21, 2016 #4


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    There was a study from a number of years ago reporting that brain scans show that the brain "decides" to take an action before the individual is consciously aware that they've made the decision:

    Here's the citation for the paper: Soon et al. 2008. Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience 11:543. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.2112[/URL]

    So, there is precedence for the idea that brain scans may be able to predict an individual's thoughts and decisions (at least before the individual is conscious of them). However, I don't actively follow this field, so I'm not sure whether the results have held up, as papers using fMRI imaging are [url=http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/controversial-science-of-brain-imaging/]sometimes problematic[/url] and can pick up many [url=http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2009/09/16/fmri-gets-slap-in-the-face-with-a-dead-fish/]false positives[/url].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. Feb 21, 2016 #5


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    The first well known experiment was conducted by Libet (easy Google). These experiments have been used, largely, to investigate the existence of free will.
  7. Feb 21, 2016 #6
    Well I'm thinking the very act of brain scanning creates a separate instance of yourself. I think mind needs a trigger for a specific event so it might be cause an action based(increase blood flow in certain area, generate thought).
    It's an infinite loop? No idea
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
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