Scientists ‘discover how to read minds’ Published on Thursday 8 March 2012 10:00
“Mind-boggling! Science creates computer that can decode your thoughts and put them into words,” the Daily Mail’s headline exclaimed today, while The Daily Telegraph heralded an era in which a “mind-reading device could become a reality”.
You’d be forgiven for thinking famous mind readers such as Derren Brown had just produced a telepathy implant. Instead, these reports are from a small study of 15 people that culminated in researchers being able to reconstruct the sound patterns of words using brain activity alone.
This research involved attaching electrical sensors directly to brains of people undergoing brain surgery to understand how they processed individual words that were played to them. The researchers demonstrated that the brain breaks words down into complex patterns of electrical activity. They were then able to create a mathematical algorithm that decoded and translated the brain activity back into a rough version of the original sound.
But the reconstructed words were not of good enough quality to be recognised by a human listener when played. The words were only recognised when the original and reconstructed sound patterns were compared visually.
This exciting and new research does raise the prospect of brain activity one day being translated into words using an implant. Such technology could help the vast numbers of people suffering from problems affecting speech. But it is important to recognise that this research is in its very early stages and a clinically effective implant is likely to be a long way off.
Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by a collaboration of North American universities led by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. It was funded by several academic grants and was published in the peer-reviewed science journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology.
The researchers report that the human brain has evolved complex mechanisms to decode highly variable sounds into meaningful elements of language, such as words. Understanding this complex decoding in humans has proved difficult, as it requires recording brain activity on the exposed brain (with the skull removed).
This study took advantage of cases of rare brain surgery for epilepsy and brain tumours that allowed researchers to measure brain activity by attaching sensors directly to the brain surface. This provided a unique opportunity to understand how the human brain recognises speech.
This study received wide media coverage due to its futuristic appeal and was often given a sci-fi angle, with some suggesting a “mind-reading device could become reality”. This research does raise the possibility of developing a device that could interpret thoughts into speech in the future. However, it is important to note the authors’ own caution – that the technology of translating thoughts into words needs to be vastly improved before such a device could become a reality.
What kind of research was this?
This was a small study of 15 people undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy or brain tumour. It looked at whether the complex brain activity involved in processing spoken words, such as the sound wave form and syllable rate, could be reconstructed using a computer program.
The researchers believe that the brain processes internal thoughts in a similar way to hearing sounds, and hope that this type of technology could eventually be used to help those who cannot talk, such as those in a coma or in the much-feared “locked-in syndrome”.
What did the research involve?
Fifteen patients undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy or brain tumour were asked to listen to 47 real or invented words and sentences from different English speakers. All patients had normal language capabilities when they were enrolled in the study.
During this process electrical signals from the brain were recorded using multiple sensors attached directly to the part of the brain called the lateral temporal cortex, which includes the superior temporal gyrus (STG), thought to be very important in the processing of speech.
To understand and mimic the brain activity involved in processing heard words, the researchers used an approach referred to as “stimulus reconstruction”. In this case, the stimulus was hearing a spoken word.
Hearing words causes a large amount of brain activity involved in recognising and processing the different aspects of the sounds of the words, for example the different sound frequencies and timing of syllables. The word reconstruction involved creating a mathematical program (like that used in computer software) capable of decoding the vast amount of brain activity in such a way that it was possible to identify the original words heard by the participant.
The reconstructed signals from different mathematical models (linear and non-linear) were compared to those detected directly from the brain surface to see how good they were at mimicking the brain’s activity when hearing spoken words. The researchers also used the models to identify the most important areas of the brain involved in processing this information and what other factors influenced the accuracy of the sound reconstructions.
What were the basic results?
When constructing the mathematical models they found that the STG region of the brain was important in creating an accurate prediction of the sound pattern of the original word.
The sound patterns generated by the mathematical model allowed the identification of specific words to be generated directly from the brain activity of patients listening to the words. These took the form of visual representations of the word sound pattern. A total of 47 words were presented in pairs and, on average, the model correctly identified the word in approximately nine out of every ten instances (89%). This was significantly better than 50% correct identification, which would be seen simply by guessing.
Importantly, however, the quality produced from reconstructing the words was not good enough for them to be recognised by a human listener when played. The words were only recognised when the original and reconstructed sound patterns were compared visually.
The researchers found that different types of mathematical models performed better at reconstructing the sounds of words with particular characteristics.
How did the researchers interpret the results?
The authors concluded that their results demonstrated that key aspects of speech signals can be reconstructed from STG activity.
This study of 15 people undergoing brain surgery has demonstrated a method of reconstructing the sound of a heard word using only the signals obtained from the brain. This study represents an important progression in the field of speech reconstruction, which has the potential to improve the lives of many who suffer from speech difficulties in the future.
But the words, when reconstructed, were not of good enough quality to be recognised by a human listener when played. The words could only be identified when the original and reconstructed sound patterns were compared visually. The researchers suggest that improving the brain sensors detecting the STG brain activity may, in the future, improve the reconstructed sound to a level that could be understood by a person listening.
The mathematical formula used to reconstruct the words is at a very early stage and would need a significant amount of improvement and development before it could be considered for use in an implant or similar device in the future. Similarly, future speech reconstruction research would need to demonstrate it was effective in a large range of words, sentence patterns and languages. Currently, the mathematical program has only been tested on a limited vocabulary of 47 English words.
This research represents an intriguing first demonstration of the potential of speech reconstruction technology to transform the lives of people with communication problems in the future.
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Then above device is used as a tool of control in the third world here. This post is for someone I know who has been implanted or believes that they have been implanted. This device is able to induce neurolepsy, cause pain and create any artificial physiological sensation. And often used in conjunction with certain psychiatric drugs according to the source. Due to work in activism of this individual and because this person is LGBT (LGBT is illegal in Malaysia), some people here have been implanted against their will in faked ‘accidents’ (according to the individual, the Seventh Day Adventists Hospital Penang is involved or has knowledge of the implant) etc..
UNHCR/WHO needs to address this if not directly involved (who would know?). I have also communicated with the Bar Council on this, I believe they are aware but collude or are disallowed from talking about or giving legal aid on this. Please or advise help if related to any medical grouping which debunks and aids in removal of such devices. Thanks.
Schumann resonances, Electro Magnetism, and the Brain.
In 1952 Schumann mathematically predicted that the earth had a natural electromagnetic resonance.
He should have asked Tesla, who already knew this and used it to transmit electricity wirelessly.
Why is this important?
I think Electro Magnetism explains a lot of things science is trying to deny and much of parapsychology. More important all of your mental states are Schumann resonances. The Earths electromagnetic resonances affect your states of consciousness. Governments can also use them for control and manipulation.
Here are the basic Schumann Resonances; they are variable within a range as solar and cosmic radiation but are approximately:
Schumann resonances are the principal background in the electromagnetic spectrum beginning at 3 Hz and extend to 60 Hz, and appear as distinct peaks at extremely low frequencies (ELF) around 7.83 (fundamental), 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. ibed wiki
Here are your brain states:
Beta waves (14 to 30 Hz),
Alpha waves (8 to 13 Hz),
Theta waves (4 to 7 Hz), and
Delta waves (1 to 3 Hz).
Alpha frequencies have been associated with meditation and relaxation.
Theta frequencies have been associated with a dreamy, creative states.
So do you think it is a coincidence the state where people feel in synch in meditation, and remote viewing occur happens to be when they are in synch with the earths primary resonance? I do not.
Also Science does not understand why our brain goes to delta state when we sleep. This is the point past dreaming where they say there is no sense of self or consciousness. It happens to correspond with the base Schuman resonance spike.
We do know that there are healing resonances and the healing resonance a cat uses is another Schuman resonance:
Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr… frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.
This association between the frequencies of cats’ purrs and improved healing of bones and muscles may provide help for some humans. Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. Their musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control.
Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, it is more plausible that cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing.
If you broadcast these EM resonances into the brain you can create all sorts of interesting states of consciousness:
Interestingly enough the government knows about these frequencies and has since the 70’s planned to implement them in psychological war operations… every wonder why all those Iraqi’s just gave up? HAARP was developed shortly after this paper was written and can beam these waves anywhere in the world:
20 Ionization of the air: An abundance of negative condensation nuclei (“air ions”) in ingested air enhances alertness and exhilaration, while an excess of positive ions enhances drowsiness and depression. Calculation of the ionic balance of a target audience’s atmospheric environment will be correspondingly useful. Again this is a naturally-occurring condition – caused by such varying agents as solar ultraviolet light, lightning, and rapidly-moving water – rather than one which most be artificially created. (Detonation of nuclear weapons, however, will alter atmospheric ionization levels.) Cf. Soyke, Fred and Edmonds, Alan, The Ion Effect. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977. 21 Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) waves: ELF waves up to 100 Hz are once more naturally occurring, but they can also be produced artificially (such as for the Navy’s Project Sanguine for submarine communication). ELF-waves are not normally noticed by the unaided senses, yet their resonant effect upon the human body has been connected to both physiological disorders and emotional distortion. Infrasound vibration (up to 20 Hz) can subliminally influence brain activity to align itself to delta, theta, alpha, or beta wave patterns, inclining an audience toward everything from alertness to passivity. Infrasound could be used tactically, as ELF-waves endure for great distances; and it could be used in conjunction with media broadcasts as well. See Playfair, Guy L. and Hill, Scott, The Cycles of Heaven. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1978, pages 130-140.
Maybe not ALL those claiming the government is driving them crazy are wrong?
Some research has suggested certain frequencies might even be the explanation for ghosts:
Suggested relationship to ghost sightings
Research by Vic Tandy, a lecturer at Coventry University, suggested that an infrasonic signal of 19 Hz might be responsible for some ghost sightings. Tandy was working late one night alone in a supposedly haunted laboratory at Warwick, when he felt very anxious and could detect a grey blob out of the corner of his eye. When Tandy turned to face the grey blob, there was nothing.
The following day, Tandy was working on his fencing foil, with the handle held in a vise. Although there was nothing touching it, the blade started to vibrate wildly. Further investigation led Tandy to discover that the extractor fan in the lab was emitting a frequency of 18.98 Hz, very close to the resonant frequency of the eye given as 18 Hz by NASA. This was why Tandy had seen a ghostly figure—it was an optical illusion caused by his eyeballs resonating. The room was exactly half a wavelength in length, and the desk was in the centre, thus causing a standing wave which caused the vibration of the foil.
Tandy investigated this phenomenon further and wrote a paper entitled The Ghost in the Machine. Tandy carried out a number of investigations at various sites believed to be haunted, including the basement of the Tourist Information Bureau next to Coventry Cathedral and Edinburgh Castle.
Tesla, the inventor of many of the modern devices on which our society runs, was convinced EM was the key to unlimited free energy, communication with other sentient beings and a lot more. He would know, he spent most of his life studying EM.
Of course on his death the US Government rushed in and seized and classified his work so top secret it has yet to be revealed. And they continue to do so with so many patents in EM.
It makes you wonder… maybe our whole view of Science is being purposefully kept in the dark, and EM has the possibility of opening whole new worlds… quite literally.