Tag Archives | Mind

Researchers Successfully Use Subjects’ Brain Waves As Personal Identifiers

brain wavesIn coming years, allowing a machine to momentarily observe your mental activity may be the key to open your email account or front door. Via Dark Reading:

It sounds like something straight out of science fiction: brainwaves taking the place of passwords in the name of authentication. A new study by researchers from the U.C. Berkeley School of Information examined the brainwave signals of individuals performing specific actions to see whether they can be consistently matched to the right individual.

Participants were asked to imagine performing a repetitive motion from a sport of their choice, singing a song, watching a series of on-screen images and silently counting the objects, or choose their own thought and focus on it for 10 seconds.

To measure the subjects’ brainwaves, the team used the NeuroSky Mindset, a Bluetooth headset that records Electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. In the end, the team was able to match the brainwave signals with 99 percent accuracy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A Sense Of Being Watched Is Hardwired Into Our Brains, Say Researchers

brain sense of being watchedIf when in doubt, we tend to feel that eyes must be upon us, could this help explain much of our behavior? From belief in a god staring down at us, to paranoid fantasies, to reluctance to break social norms even when no one is actually paying attention? Via the Telegraph:

The feeling that others are watching us is an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us alert, experts said.

Prof. Colin Clifford, a University of Sydney psychologist who led the research, explained: “A direct gaze can signal dominance or a threat, and if you perceive something as a threat you would not want to miss it. Simply assuming another person is looking at you may be the safest strategy.”

The researchers asked volunteers to determine in which direction a series of faces were looking. Even without being able to clearly see where the eyes were focused, the participants felt as if they were being watched.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Experiment Gives Lab Rats The Ability To Communicate Telepathically

There’s something a bit dark about this impressive experiment, in which one rat telepathically gives orders to the other. New Scientist reports:

The world’s first brain-to-brain connection has given rats the power to communicate by thought alone. “Many people thought it could never happen,” says Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Nicolelis’s team has demonstrated a direct interface between two brains – with the rats sharing both motor and sensory information.

The feat was achieved by first training rats to press one of two levers when an LED above that lever was lit. A correct action opened a hatch containing water to drink. The researchers wired up the implants of an encoder and a decoder rat. The pair were given the lever-press task, but only the encoder rats saw the LEDs come on. Brain signals from the encoder rat were transmitted to the decoder rat. The team found that the decoders, despite having no visual cue, pressed the correct lever.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Love Is Just Small Moments Of Positivity Resonance

You can fall in and out of love every day, and experience the benefits of brief moments of “positivity resonance,” just by being open to other people. Via the Atlantic:

Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions, presents scientific evidence that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting yearning and passion that characterizes young love or sustains a marriage; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.

Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

German Neurologist Claims ‘Dark Patch’ In The Brain Is Responsible For Evil

Perhaps reserve some skepticism, but the claim is that future serial killers and dictators could be pinpointed in childhood via brain scan of the front lower forehead area. The Daily Mail reports:

A German neurologist claims to have found the area of the brain where evil lurks in killers and rapists. One of Germany’s best-known brain specialists, Bremen scientist Dr. Gerhard Roth says the ‘evil patch’ lies in the brain’s central lobe and shows up as a dark mass on X-rays. He discovered it when investigating violent convicted offenders over the years for German government studies.

‘We showed these people short films and measured their brain waves,’ he said. ‘Whenever there were brutal scenes the subjects showed no emotions. In the areas of the brain where we create compassion and sorrow, nothing happened.’ The dark mass at the front of the brain, he says, appears in all scans of people with records for criminal violence.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Scientists Capture First Footage Ever Of A Thought Being Formed

Via Gizmodo, you can now truly see someone thinking:
A team of Japanese researchers has captured, for the first time ever, a movie which shows how thoughts form in the brain. OK, so it's a thought forming in the brain of a zebrafish. But this is a fundamental leap forward in our understanding of how brains work. The researchers used a new technique to record the footage: a super-sensitive fluorescent probe that detects neuron activity. We see neurons glowing when they're active—and the cascade of light you see in this video is the neuronal response of a zebrafish responding to the presence of its prey.
Continue Reading

Remote Viewing Pioneer Ingo Swann Dies

After serving in the Korean War, working at United Nations, and establishing a career as an artist, Ingo Swann devoted himself to cultivating super-sensory powers and attempting to prove their legitimacy. Remote Viewing instructional Services writes:

Born in 1933, during the 1950s and 1960s, because of psychic potentials partly evident in childhood, Swann became actively interested in occult and parapsychological literature and in a variety of novel mind-development programs for the enhancement of ESP potentials.

Swann’s participation in parapsychology research began in 1969. During the next twenty years he worked only in controlled laboratory settings with scientific researchers. Because of his participation in hundreds of thousands of experimental trials, author Martin Ebon wrote of him as “parapsychology’s most tested guinea pig.”

In 1970-71 Swann experimented with Cleve Backster in attempting to influence plants by mental activity. In 1971-72 psychokinetic experiments involved successfully influencing temperature recorded in a controlled setting.

Swann was also the subject of experiments in out-of-body travel, or psychic perception at a distance.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

On the Art Of Dying Well

British neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick researches how consciousness changes as we approach death. In this TEDx talk, he explores the altered states on the edge of death and explains how to engage in a peaceful and satisfying end to earthly existence:
Continue Reading

British Man Wakes Up From Coma Speaking New Language

Ever feel as if you might accomplish far more in a deep, dreamless sleep than awake and walking around? The Telegraph reports:

Alun Morgan, 81, was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War but left 70 years ago. During his time there he was surrounded by Welsh speakers but never learned the language himself. He left the country aged 10 and lived his life in England and recently suffered a severe stroke.

But when Mr Morgan regained consciousness three weeks later, doctors discovered he was speaking Welsh and could not remember any English. It is thought that the Welsh Mr Morgan heard as a boy had sunk in without him knowing and was unlocked after he suffered the stroke. Mr Morgan is now being taught to speak English again.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The End To The Era Of Biological Robots

Via Skeptiko, a fascinating interview with neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard, who argues that, like the transition from classical to quantum physics, a revolution is coming in the way science will no longer perceive humans as being merely “biological robots”:

What we call the “modern scientific worldview”… is based on classical physics and this view is based on a number of fundamental assumptions like materialism, determinism, reductionism. So applied to mind and brain it means that, for instance, everything in the universe is only matter and energy that form the brain as a physical object, too, and the mind can be reduced strictly to electrical and chemical processes in the brain.

It means also that everything is determined from a material or physical point of view, so we don’t have any freedom. We’re like biological robots, totally determined by our neurons and our genes and so on. And so we’re reduced to material objects and we are determined by material processes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading