February 12, 2007 It appears that the ever more omnipotent computer is set to add another remarkable by unravelling the secrets of mindreading. Every day we plan numerous actions, such as to return a book to a friend or to make an appointment. How and where the brain stores these intentions has been revealed by John-Dylan Haynes from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in cooperation with researchers from London and Tokyo. For the first time they were able to "read" participants’ intentions out of their brain activity. This was made possible by a new combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging and sophisticated computer algorithms. By imaging patterns of activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex as subjects concentrated on their choice of two future actions, researchers have been able to distinguish cortical activity patterns that correspond to the subjects' different plans.
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