My Research Skills Blog

Here are the links to my last lot of comments YAAAAAAY!

http://psud63.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/is-it-ethically-acceptable-to-use-internet-sources-in-research/#comment-64

http://psud5c.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/an-example-of-statistics-in-the-real-world-north-south-divide/#comment-44

http://psucf2psych.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/correlation-does-not-always-imply-causation/#comment-66

http://emilyheg.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/should-we-as-taxpayers-fund-basic-research/#comment-44

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Comments on: "Homework for my TA: Comments due 18/04/12" (1)

  1. I found your take on minding reading and how you’ve linked it to how humans use body language to in a sense read minds quite refreshing. My only point of disagreement is your conclusion:

    “it seems almost inevitable that research will continue and that one day, mind reading computers will exist.”

    When making a claim as bold as this you need to provide some evidence, showing how your idea would unfold. At the moment there are a number of technological restraints that would need to be overcome in order to achieve the level of mind reading technology that you speak of.

    The current approach is to monitor brain activity related to each word, this information can then be used to determine if and when a person is thinking of that particular word. However brain activity varies depending on the individual: research has shown that neural circuits can rewire in response to learning, training and even in cases of injury[1] Therefore in order to accurately read someone’s mind, we may need to record each individuals brain responses, which simply isn’t practical.

    The study you mention in your blog is an FMRI study, which uses blood flow as a measure of brain activity. However as you will know neural messages/thoughts lasts for a matter of nanoseconds, Whereas blood flow is much slower. Therefore there is a significant delay between what you are recording(blood flow) and what you are using that to measure(neural activity)[2,3]. It is possible to use single cell recordings, however the intrusive nature of these raises a number of ethical issues.

    In sum, there are a number of rather large hurdles to overcome before technology can reach the level you are suggesting.

    [1] http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v3/n1/full/nrn700.html
    [2]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11635625
    [3] http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/09/22/brain-movies/

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