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Functional MRI Research Essay

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Ever since the early days of science fiction, man has dreamt of using computers to see into another’s mind, to see what they see, and what they think. Until recently, this hope was just that, a dream. But now, using magnetic resonance imaging, statistical analysis programs, and a new encoding model, scientists have turned this dream into a reality. MRIs use strong magnetic fields to trigger and measure a charge in the tissue scanned, which is then translated to an image of the scanned area. Functional MRIs expand on this technique by using the change in charge in specific parts of the brain to measure the oxygenation of blood in these areas over time. Using this technique, known as blood oxygenation level-dependent contrast (BOLD), changes in…show more content…
To do this, they showed a large number of short clips to a subject, who was being measured by an fMRI. The resulting brain activity in each part of the brain was then paired with the clip, creating a database of brain activity to image. When presented with fMRI data, the program attempts to match it with data in its database, then correlates this to an image/clip. The researchers also used a novel model of signal filtering known as motion-energy encoding to create a more accurate interpretation of the data. [2] This work is similar to other fMRI analysis that interpreted fMRI data to predict mood, emotion, and even spatial orientation. [3] Going forward, these techniques could be used to help treat and diagnose psychiatric disorders, as well as many other varied fields such as art, law, and entertainment; additionally, researchers have shown that there is only a small difference between the brain activity while picturing an image and seeing an image. This means that with the appropriate software, it might soon be possible to reconstruct an image from the imagination. [4] While we can’t see dreams yet, we’re on our
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