Scanning brains for medical reasons is commonplace. “Dr. House” does it, all the time. However, scanning brains for communications…that may be something else. What else? SciTechStory covered the news of a European study, in which one patient in a vegetative state (clinically unconscious) communicated with the research team by thinking of specific activities, which were then scanned by fMRI (SciTechStory: fMRI reveals conscious activity in vegetative brains). William Saletan at Slate has an interesting take on “What else?” He asks, will brain scanning lead to mind control? His answer:
It’s fun to spin out these neuro-determinist theories and mind-reading fantasies. But the reality of the European scans is much more interesting. They don’t show the brain controlling the mind. The patients’ brains didn’t talk; their motor cortexes didn’t leap to life; their neurons didn’t “make up their minds.” The scans show the opposite: the mind operating the brain.
[Source: Slate: The iBrain]
Well worth the read.