Brain scans used to predict behavior

November 30, 2005

Washington University scientists in St. Louis say they can predict whether people will win or lose a brief visual game by analyzing their brain scans.

The subjects' brain activity can be used to predict with about 70 percent accuracy whether a subject will give a correct or an incorrect response, said lead author Ayelet Sapir, a postdoctoral research associate in neurology.

Eleven seconds before volunteers played the game -- discriminating the direction of a field of moving dots -- scientists showed them a hint: an arrow pointing to where the moving dots were likely to appear.

After the hint and prior to the appearance of the moving dots, researchers scanned the volunteers with functional brain imaging, which reveals increases in blood flow to different brain areas indicative of increased activity in those regions.

Based on the brain activity patterns, scientists found they could frequently predict whether a volunteer's response would be right or wrong before the volunteers even had a chance to play the game.

Results appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences and in the journal's Dec. 6 print edition.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: What is life?

Related Stories

What is life?

October 20, 2015

"Why would NASA want to study a lake in Canada?"

Scientists identify brain circuits used in sensation of touch

October 10, 2007

The ability to tactually recognize fine spatial details, such as the raised dots used in braille, is especially important to those who are blind. With that in mind, a team of researchers has identified the neural circuitry ...

Cracking the brain's numerical code

September 24, 2009

By carefully observing and analyzing the pattern of activity in the brain, researchers have found that they can tell what number a person has just seen. They can similarly tell how many dots a person has been presented with, ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.