UK Sun | Source URL
MIND reading could be one step closer to reality as scientists have worked out they can see the thoughts of rats and predict their actions.
Researchers have revealed they can tell exactly what rats are thinking by observing the activity in their brains.
Scientists observed the hippocampus – the heart of the organ – and were able to determine the rat’s thoughts and actions.
Jozsef Csicsvari, co-author of the study published in the journal Neuron, revealed they have created a “brain map” for the rats.
And this allows them to match up neural activity to the actions of the rat – and therefore predict the rodent’s actions.
Rats were placed through a maze repeatedly which allow scientists to build up a picture of their brain.
Csicsvari told ScienceDaily: “Thanks to this work, we are currently able to determine the position of a rat in a labyrinth by observing its hippocampus.
“A sort of brain map, it is activated in a particular way depending on where we are located in the area.
“However, it turns out that sometimes the active neuron does not match the location of the rat.
“Rather it gives us a glimpse of how the animal views the space.”
Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria can determine where rats will travel next based on which neutron fires in its brain.
He said: “This gives us an insight into what the animal is thinking about space.
“We used this concept to understand how rats think during tasks that test their spatial memory.”
The experiment even allows them to realise when a rat has made a mistake.
Csicsvari said: “The animal is thinking about a different place than the one it is in. In fact, we can predict which arm the rat will enter next.
“When the rat makes a mistake, it replays a random route. Based on the place cells, we can predict that the rat will make a mistake before it commits it.”
He added: “With reference memory, the brain truly navigates and remembers that ‘this is a location I have to go to”
The experiment saw the rats navigate a maze with eight arms – with three containing food.
The new research was based on previous work by John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser.
The team won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2014 for working out the relationship between the hippocampus and spatial location.
Scientists claimed to have developed an AI programme that developed images based on people’ brain signals.
And it was revealed the US Government looked into mind reading according to leaked documents.