from the Reading-minds? dept.
According to a press release (27 September 2001), researchers with the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists have shown that they can tell what kind of object a person is looking at by the pattern of brain activity it evokes. These patterns, which arise in a visual processing area on the bottom surface of the brain, are different for each category of objects. Their research report appeared in the 28 September 2001 issue of Science.
The neuroscientists are looking at how the brain's visual system is able to represent a virtually unlimited number of faces and objects by scanning the activity of the visual cortex. The patterns may provide a key to deciphering the brain's code for recognizing objects and faces, say the researchers. "Brain imaging may be able to show how the brain encodes complex information, such as the appearance of objects, not just where the encoding occurs," said a team leader.