Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it theoretically possible to "read" a human's thought from brain activity? As far as I know we can already detect in what kind of mood a person is.

Personally, I don't think "reading" word by word will ever be possible, so how far can we theoretically read a humans mind?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Remi.b, Chris, fileunderwater, Satwik Pasani, Oreotrephes Feb 18 at 19:07

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears off-topic. You should ask it on CognitiveScience.SE –  Remi.b Feb 18 at 12:39
I'm not convinced that I have learned to read my own thoughts yet. –  Alan Boyd Feb 18 at 13:51
read thought from what? the brain? facial expressions? by listening to them talking? –  Memming Feb 18 at 15:56
@Memming Read thoughts from the brain, for example by measuring the brain currents. ;) –  user5773 Feb 18 at 16:25
@Manu So primarily brain-machine interfaces? I think you can rephrase your question to a more scientific one, if only you can define "thoughts". With current technology, we can read out many things pretty well, and it's only gonna get better. –  Memming Feb 18 at 20:06

1 Answer 1

This depends on how you imagine doing this. If we had full access to the behavior of many neurons or sensibly sized clusters, and we understood enough about how most or all of the components interact, then quite likely we could. But we are also very far from having good spatial and time resolution simultaneously for neuroimaging methods. Again, even if we did, we'd still have to know what it all means in order to infer what is really happening.

With current technologies, such as fMRI or EEG, we can only get coarse measures for certain things. The general mood of a person is probably not difficult to predict with FMRI in some cases, but very specific things, like exact words or images going through your mind, are much more difficult.

In short, there is no theoretical reason why we wouldn't be able to eventually, but we'll need better tools and cognitive models.

share|improve this answer