It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Researchers Predict Future Actions from Human Brain Activity

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 03:41 AM

Bringing the real world into the brain scanner, researchers at The University of Western Ontario from The Centre for Brain and Mind can now determine the action a person was planning, mere moments before that action is actually executed.

Over the course of the one-year study, human subjects had their brain activity scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed one of three hand movements: grasping the top of an object, grasping the bottom of the object, or simply reaching out and touching the object. The team found that by using the signals from many brain regions, they could predict, better than chance, which of the actions the volunteer was merely intending to do, seconds later.

If I understand the article correctly, it looks like the actions in this study were pretty simple, just reaching your arm out and touching something. Plus, they were only able to predict the action a couple seconds before hand. It will be interesting to see how far this research goes.

"Neuroimaging allows us to look at how action planning unfolds within human brain areas without having to insert electrodes directly into the human brain. This is obviously far less intrusive," explains Western Psychology professor Jody Culham, who was the paper's senior author.

This looks like it can have very positive applications to.

Gallivan says the new findings could also have important clinical implications: "Being able to predict a human's desired movements using brain signals takes us one step closer to using those signals to control prosthetic limbs in movement-impaired patient populations, like those who suffer from spinal cord injuries or locked-in syndrome."

Will there be a day when all we need is our head?..... (futurama). The machines will handle the rest of our body......mechanical body. I wonder how long we will be able to live then?

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 03:49 AM

I am not sure, I'm sure lazy.

This is a full doco on free choice, OR
A doco about it, but slightly....


They put the guy in an MRI, tell him to think of certain things, then ask him to do a mental thing, like press a lever, and it is recorded or whatever.

Then when he vacates the machine, they tell him that at up to 5-6 seconds before he even considered a thought, his brain had already decided?

Before he had collectively determined that same action?

Free choice still exists... I choose not to starve and instead to eat, or I choose to starve and wait for documentaries to show how food can prevent this.

edit on 30/6/2011 by badw0lf because: I am lazy had to clarify cant be bothered telling why

edit on 30/6/2011 by badw0lf because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 11:52 AM
reply to post by badw0lf

I think the main thing here is the researchers’ ability to predict what the action was going to be by looking at the brain activity patterns imaged by the scanner. A bit like being able to make out, with practice, otherwise identical fish in a tank by the pattern of spots on their bodies.

It’s been known for some time, thanks to experiments of this kind, that our conscious decisions are preceded by unconscious brain activity. We make up our minds before being conscious of making up our minds.

This may not mean a lot. Maybe our conscious perception of the decisions we have made are just slightly delayed – brain activity must take time, after all. I am assuming, of course, that consciousness arises from brain activity, but there are many who would have it the other way round. Either way, it certainly doesn’t show that free will is some kind of illusion.

But free will is scarcely worth arguing about, anyway: the only evidence we have for its existence is the sense we all have of exerting it, and seeing others appear to exert it, too. Admittedly, this is very persuasive evidence. But if we look closely at others’ actions and motives, we soon begin to doubt that they have free will after all, and if we turn our gaze inward upon ourselves we shall begin to doubt that we have any either.

Meanwhile, all the evidence from science and philosophy insists that we do not have free will. Even theology struggles and fails to reconcile it with the concept of a benevolent Deity.

I venture to suggest that the concept of free will requires no further disproof; there is enough already.

edit on 30/6/11 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)


log in