Reading thought patterns in fMRI brain imaging, with Dr. Marcel Just

The 19th “People Who Read People” podcast episode is an interview with Dr. Marcel Just, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, about his work using function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look for brain activity related to specific thoughts. For example: differentiating the brain activity of someone thinking about an apple versus thinking about other words and concepts. Dr. Just and his work have been twice featured on the TV show 60 Minutes.

Links to this episode:

Topics discussed include:

  • The nature of human thought; how much is it individual thoughts vs many things firing at once
  • Why brain activity for specific thoughts and emotions trigger specific areas of the brain in consistent, predictable ways
  • Why thoughts and emotions activate the same types of patterns for so many people, even across language divides
  • How fMRI works and why it is a good choice for this type of work (versus EEG, for example)
  • The state of this technology, its potential applications, and what its practical limitations are

Related links: