Scientists have learned to predict human decisions 11 seconds before they appear in the brain

Scientific Reports published excerpts from the work of Australian neuroscientists who developed a method for predicting the work of the human brain. They succeeded, by setting the subjects with a task, in advance to predict their answer to it. Such developments will help in the creation of advanced neural interfaces.

Participants in the experiment were alternately connected to equipment for monitoring brain activity, after which they showed fundamentally different images - horizontal and vertical stripes of red and green colors. It was necessary to choose one of the patterns, mentally focus on it, and then confirm the selection with a button. The whole process was given 20 seconds, and on average, already 11 seconds before pressing the button, scientists could calculate what choice this or that volunteer would make.

Since the choice was made without any explicit criteria, at random, there is no need to talk about some kind of calculation, a deliberate decision. On the other hand, the decision was still made, since the person focused on one of the patterns. But why exactly on this? What prompted him to make this decision? The authors of the study believe that the brain is constantly developing "virtual" decisions as soon as a person is faced with a situation that requires a choice and decision. This happens at an unconscious level, and when then the conscious process is activated, the brain simply picks up the brightest of the ready-made ideas.

If this reasoning is correct, then there is no particular problem to intercept the thought-signal before the brain formalizes it into a solution and gives the command, for example, to the hand - to press that button. In the experiment, this was partially achieved, but in the future it will be possible to create such a neurointerface for the prosthesis, with which the disabled person will be able to again control the limbs literally by "movement of thought", intuitively.