Opening a window into the movies in our minds

In research, that brings to mind the movie Minority Report, a group of neuroscientists have found a way to see through another person’s eyes.

By reconstructing YouTube videos from viewers’ brain activity, researchers from UC Berkeley, have, in the words of Professor Jack Gallant, opened ” a window into the movies in our minds.”

Gallant’s coauthors of the study,  published in Current Biology, watched YouTube videos inside a magnetic resonance imaging machine for several hours at a time. The team then used the brain imaging data to develop a computer model that matched features of the videos — like colors, shapes and movements — with patterns of brain activity. Subtle changes in blood flow to visual areas of the brain, measured by functional MRI, predicted what was on the screen at the time.

Lead author, Shinji Nishimoto, said the results of the study shed light on how the brain understands and processes visual experiences. The next line of research is to investigate if the technology could one day allow people who are paralyzed to control their environment by imagining sequences of movements.