Print 48 comment(s) - last by William Gaatje.. on Mar 20 at 5:04 AM

Activity visualizations during remembered episodes in the new study showed remarkable similarity.  (Source: Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging)
New research is quite exciting, but somewhat unsettling at the same time

What if you could tell what someone was thinking, or better yet, pluck their memories and examine them?  That concept has been fodder for countless science fiction works, and in essence is the goal of lie detection machines.  Unfortunately, to date, lie detection machines and other techniques are crude and error prone at analyzing memories or thoughts.  Additionally, the actual mechanism for memory in the brain is poorly understood.

The field of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may change that.  Researchers have made a number of breakthroughs in using fMRI scans to capture brain activity and match it to pre-cataloged images.  

Now researchers have used fMRIs to gain a glimpse of recalled short term human memories and even begin to predict what memory corresponds to what event.  

The new study led by Eleanor Maguire of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, located in the UK, built on three pivotal previous studies.  The first was previous work, which was performed by Maguire's team, which showed that patterns of electrical activity in the hippocampus could be used to predict someone's position in a virtual world.  The second study was performed at Vanderbilt University and showed that activity in the visual cortex could be used to identify and provide analysis of short-term "working" memory.  The final study came from Japanese researchers, which showed that visual images of memories or sights could be reconstructed, including novel ones that the people had never seen before.

In the new work, Maguire showed 10 participants three short film clips of a woman performing some sort of action.  The clips were shown 15 times and then the participants were sent in for fMRI scanning.  During each scan, the participants were prompted to recall a particular clip in as much detail as possible.  After that, the participants were challenged to a "free recall", in which they decided a particular clip and though about it, afterwards entering what clip they had recalled.  Each participant did 30 such "free recall" trials.

The results were impressive.  All of the participants had the same regions of the hippocampi and hippocampus activated during the act of remembering.  The researchers also showed that during the set recalls, the brain activity (visualized as a "frequency heat map") stayed remarkably consistent.  And during the free recall, they showed that they could correctly predict which clip the participants had selected nearly every time.

The study was published in the journal 
Current Biology.

It is significant as it establishes what parts of the brain are used for episodic short term memory.  Combined with other studies on spatial short term memory, researchers are approaching being able to "read peoples' minds" for short term thoughts.

Long term memory remains a more elusive challenge, though.  It is thought that experiences cause changes in the frontal cortex, which amount to stored memories.  These memories can be recalled at a much later date, even years after the event.  It is unclear, though, exactly how this works.  Thus we can be thankful that we still have some time before thought crimes like those of
Minority Report or other mental snooping could fully be realized.

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RE: Please stop the Minority Report analogy
By porkpie on 3/17/2010 7:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
"One could argue that Hitler was a great man based on his superb military strategies alone."

Learn history. Hitler was an absolutely incompetent military leader...which is one of the reasons his own military officers tried to kill him several times.

The Allied Forces actually planned an assassination attempt against him, but cancelled it, due in large part to the belief that Hitler alive would help Germany lose much faster than Hitler dead.

RE: Please stop the Minority Report analogy
By JonnyDough on 3/17/10, Rating: -1
By porkpie on 3/17/2010 4:29:20 PM , Rating: 4
"One, again...SUBJECTIVE"

A subjective opinion upon which the Allied Forces Chiefs of Staff (and nearly all the German ones) agree with me.

"Two, Blitzkreig?"

Germany's Blitzkrieg (spell it properly please) tactics were developed by Von Seeckt and Guderian, not Hitler. Germany had some of the finest military minds in the world. Hitler was not one of them.

"Four, why are you always out to prove everyone wrong? "

Why are you trying to prove me wrong...and failing miserably?

"You must have a little penis."

The vacuum pump is helping, though.

RE: Please stop the Minority Report analogy
By JonnyDough on 3/17/10, Rating: 0
By porkpie on 3/17/2010 4:22:52 PM , Rating: 3
"I'm sorry, what were your sources again? We wanted Hitler ALIVE? You're a moron."

Yes, we wanted Hitler alive. You wanted a source, here it is:
MI6's skepticism [about the plan to assassinate Hitler] was shared among some of the SOE's old hands. Major Field-Robertson, the head of the SOE's German section, argued that using such "low methods" to kill Hitler could be disastrous. He said: "It would almost certainly canonize him and give birth to the myth that Germany would have been saved if he had lived."

He agreed with the Chiefs of Staff that Hitler's incompetence as a military strategist was invaluable to the Allies. "Hitler has been of the greatest possible assistance to the war effort," he said. "His value to us has been the equivalent to an almost unlimited number of first class SOE agents strategically placed inside Germany."

Open foot, insert mouth. Good job, Mr. Dough.

By William Gaatjes on 3/20/2010 5:04:47 AM , Rating: 2
Although i am not a fan of Adolf Hitler, it is you who is partly poorly informed as well. Hitler was very good at recognizing what technology and psychology can be used to let people see his reasoning as valid and that is why at the start the NAZI party(former NSDAP) was so loved and German people all turned into a united nation. He was not the greatest military strategist, but that was the job of his military leaders. Their was enormous poverty and one person with his party who almost magically helped the German economy giving a lot of people fate. Hitler was a great planner and had even greater people around him. But luckily he was human too and his evil caught up with him. In the end, Hitler and most Germans where because of their own arrogance turned into nothing more then methamphetamine junkies. And everybody knows that drugs make poor judgement. One could ask himself what would have happened if the nazi leaders did not turned into insane people because of there relentless drug use.

I know some neo republicans are going to love this( Yes i am talking to you as well Bill O'reilly), but i strongly advice you to look at your own American history in the past and what is happening the present. But anyway, in Amsterdam their used to be a cocaine factory around the 1900 to 1940-something( i do not remember the exact date). There where at the time 4 factories in Holland and a few in Austria and a few in Germany. The Holland cocaine factory( yes it was legal at the time just like coca cola) was wanted by the NAZI Germans as well. To go back and forth and back in time for a brief moment : This factory supplied cocaine to the army forces on both sides in WW1. Turning soldiers in ruthless killers. This happens even today in some countries on the African continent where child soldiers are brain washed with drugs and turn into heartless and ruthless killers/ rapists/murderers. These child soldiers are formed by organized troops. Now who do you think are responsible for the base of power for these troops ? The CIA. Even still today. But i am wondering off...

In WW2 the factory produced no longer cocaine officially because of the opium law in the Netherlands (although they still produced cocaine for a while) but produced amphetamine. Also a soldier drug. But i wonder off...

German Technology :
Where do i have to begin ? How about smoking cigarettes ?
While here in the USA people where stimulated to chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes, In Nazi Germany it was already known and forbidden to smoke. Because they already knew that smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco gives you cancer. Yes people this was during 1930-1940. During the years after WW1 people in Germany worked very hard to modernize Germany and for that time germany was a very modern city.

Financial fronts :
Germany started a bank to get rid of all the debts germany had to pay back to the other countries after WW1. And when they started to go to war they could use this bank to freeze all the assets of the invaded countries and move the assets to their own account. All that money was used to feed the money hungry military industry of germany. Hjalmar Schacht Was a key person. He formed the B.I.S. The Bank for International Settlement.

Technological fronts :
How about the tape recorder.
It was in contrast to popular belief developed in germany. At IG farben. The sound was terrible and a german engineer discovered that when you use a high frequency bias signal to electromagnetically bias the magnetic tape, the audio would become(for that time) crystal clear in sound. This invention was later at the end of WW2 brought to the USA where it was modified to become the 8-track tape and later on the all known casette player.

Hitler instantly recognized the psychological effect this device had because the whole country could here him simultaniously because of pre-recorded speeches. He also had theater and drama classes to be able to make more dramatic and emotional speeches. There was a reason why he behaved like he is sometimes seen. He was acting (at least in the beginning) and later started to believe his own words.

How about air defense artillery .
Germany was way more advanced then the allies ever where. In truth all the technology the USA had after WW2 was mainly from defected german scientists from various origins. A lot of them where jewish as well. Just like the American bankers by the way who continued doing business with Germany while NAZI Germany was murdering countless innocent jewish people.

You might want to see this : A history of silicon valley.
Their is various mentioning about the advanced military technology Germany had and the inability the allied forces had to destroy Germany. Only later with massive amounts of planes and bombs (most got shot down though by the Germans )the allied forces where able to create a devastating bombing of NAZI Germany.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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