Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Science

Researchers Teach Subliminally; Matrix Learning One Step Closer 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-know-kung-fu dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For the first time ever, scientists from Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan have managed to use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI to decode the process of learning. As the research stands to date, it isn't capable of much. Rather than working with skills like juggling, the researchers relied on images so they could tie into the vision part of the brain, the part that they have managed to partially decode. Nevertheless, they demonstrated that information could be taught using neurofeedback techniques. And it was effective even when people didn't know they were learning."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Researchers Teach Subliminally; Matrix Learning One Step Closer

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let us make fMRI machines less noisy and more portable.

    • by durrr (1316311)
      And less likely to turn shopping carts and everything made of metal not bolted down around you into deadly and homing missiles.
      • by guruevi (827432)

        Physics a bitch ain't it.

        In order to get the magnetic fields necessary to do imaging you're going to generate a big magnetic field which is contained to a room and the coils itself are going to make a lot of noise as their fields get switched several hundreds times per second.

  • obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I know kung fu.

  • Citation needed (Score:5, Informative)

    by anton.karl (1843146) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:17AM (#38340390) Homepage
    This story really needs a link to an original paper.
    • Re:Citation needed (Score:5, Informative)

      by zlel (736107) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:40AM (#38340500) Homepage
      is it http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6061/1413.full [sciencemag.org] ? "Our results indicate that the adult early visual cortex is so plastic that mere repetition of the activity pattern corresponding to a specific feature in the cortex is sufficient to cause VPL of a specific orientation, even without stimulus presentation, conscious awareness of the meaning of the neural patterns that participants induced, or knowledge of the intention of the experiment. How is the present research on VPL distinguished from previous approaches? Unit recording and brain imaging studies have successfully revealed the correlation between VPL and neural activity changes (1–8). However, these correlation studies cannot clarify cause-and-effect relationships. The studies that examined the effect of a lesion (15) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) (16, 17) to a brain region on VPL have shown whether the examined region plays some role in VPL. However, these studies cannot clarify how particular activity patterns in the region are related to VPL. In contrast, the present decoded fMRI neurofeedback method allowed us to induce specific neural activity patterns in V1/V2, which caused VPL. "
  • by bonch (38532) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:28AM (#38340440)

    The article claims that they recorded the brain patterns of jugglers imagining the act of juggling, and then had a non-juggler imagine doing the same thing and rewarded them if they matched those brain patterns, thereby teaching them how to juggle.

    That's absurd on its face. But then the article tucks away the fact that what the study really only dealt with visual imagery. It used fMRI, which has been around for years and "decodes" the visual process of the brain. So what this study is really about is figuring out visual perceptual learning, not a physical skill like juggling. Using fMRI, they can "improve performance on visual tasks" [infozine.com].

    It says right in the article that they have yet to test if this process works with any other type of learning. It's more likely that it may have uses in rehabilitation and memory learning, or at least provide insight into those processes. There's no Matrix learning here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't want to be rude, but everything you just said is in the summary.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Imagining doing something and actually doing it physically is close to the same thing as far as learning and the brain is concerned. Yes, that means that you can get better at, say, basket ball by sitting in your couch imagining playing basket ball - the rate of learning is nearly the same as actually playing basket ball. Presumably your assumptions of how basket ball works will get out of sync with reality after a while, so you will need to actually go play for real too every once in a while. So there is r

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The article claims that they recorded the brain patterns of jugglers imagining the act of juggling, and then had a non-juggler imagine doing the same thing and rewarded them if they matched those brain patterns, thereby teaching them how to juggle.

      Maybe you should read it a little more carefully. That was a hypothetical procedure which the article specifically states they did NOT do, because they're not at that point yet.

      But yeah, this article/attention-getting-blog is crap; they didn't even bother crediting where they got the news from. Here's the actual source:

      Science Magazine - Perceptual Learning Incepted by Decoded fMRI Neurofeedback Without Stimulus Presentation [sciencemag.org]

    • by DocJohn (81319)

      And worse, it's not even a particularly new finding from this research team. They reported on something similar 3 YEARS ago:

      http://pinktentacle.com/2008/12/scientists-extract-images-directly-from-brain/ [pinktentacle.com]

      Last, neurofeedback -- a technique that's been around and well-understood for 2 decades now -- isn't likely to teach anyone a skill like juggling. It can help guide you to better understand your bodily responses and reflexes, but it's not like you can imprint one fMRI image onto another person. Neurofeedback

  • by TFoo (678732) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:35AM (#38340470)
    seriously: my wife teaches high schoolers, she made a comment about The Matrix and got a whole room of stares in response. 1999 was 12 years ago...
    • by walkerp1 (523460) on Monday December 12, 2011 @12:58AM (#38340570)
      I blame the parents. Yes, we could push the responsibility off on educators, but cultural enlightenment should ideally start much sooner. My eight children all saw the Matrix before their fourth birthdays. I also reinforce with annual refreshers.
      • My eight children all saw the Matrix before their fourth birthdays. I also reinforce with annual refreshers.

        It's too bad they never made a sequel.

        • by migla (1099771)

          I think I actually never saw the third film, (which is not to say any sequels were ever made). Or maybe I have repressed that memory.

          When I was a kid and saw back to the future, I thought it was the greatest movie ever made. At later inspection, one wonders how it was possible to be so immersed, noticing things that should have broken the spell. I find this happens a lot with movies or TV-shows.

          I've often first thought a new show with a new take on a genre being better than anything else so far but later ge

          • Third film.

            Neo is Jesus.

            Complete with crucifxion-pose sacrificial death..
            • by marnues (906739)
              First film Neo is The One.

              Complete with superman flying.

              The only difference here is which culture is being alienated. If they had started with the 3rd film and moved backward we would have had a lot of angry Christians bitching about why they took a classic Revelations movie and made it all Eastern philosophy. No one on /. would have noticed since the only _real_ mysticism is Eastern in origin. Give it up, the first movie had as much shlocky nonsense as the other 2. But it was _our_ shlocky nonsense
        • I've always felt that with enough editing you could probably merge those other 2 movies (the ones that were somewhat like the matrix but not sequels) into one that would be better than the sum of it's parts. I'm not saying it would be a good movie, but at least it wouldn't end with that blasted sunrise scene.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      As a current high schooler I'm calling bullshit. The Matrix was part of most of my friend's childhoods.

      No, I'm not getting off your lawn.

    • by MenThal (646459)

      Ah, you try doing a Lawnmower Man reference... Even get the crickets by most /.'ers...

  • No martial arts or helicopter flying downloads yet?

  • by Zeroblitzt (871307) on Monday December 12, 2011 @01:16AM (#38340634) Homepage
    But couldn't this be a terrible thing? And it was effective even when people didn't know they were learning. Translation: It will eventually fall into the hands of someone not-so-nice (politician, corporation, etc.), and suddenly we will "learn" that they are good, or we should buy their product, or elect them to be our leader, etc.
    • Well, reading the actual article (which ziel gratefully provided a link for [slashdot.org]) reveals that while the participants didn't know that they were learning visual patterns, they still had to actively participate (their task was to somehow increase a green circle). I'm pretty sure you can't be put into an MRI machine without noticing it (unless you are unconscious or sleeping, but then this scheme cannot work anyway). So if you are put into an MRI, and you fear them secretly teaching you bad things, just refuse to

      • If corporations can convince people to wear headgear that can measure brain activity, either EEG or fMRI (fMRI headgear is far-future tech, I know) and give access to the results, some bad shit's gonna happen. I was watching a feature yesterday that showed a marketing firm that uses EEG outputs to fine-tune advertisements to make them as irresistible as possible to specific individuals. At what point does it cross the line from advertisement to mind control? Or to look at it another way, this would allow ad

        • Or to look at it another way, this would allow advertisers to systematically ruin anything we take pleasure in by killing it with hollow advertisements

          For that they don't need any new technology. They are already very good in it.

    • That this hasn't already happened? They just have found neurological proof how it works, that is all.
    • Welcome to the new MRI taught army.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      But couldn't this be a terrible thing? And it was effective even when people didn't know they were learning. Translation: It will eventually fall into the hands of someone not-so-nice (politician, corporation, etc.), and suddenly we will "learn" that they are good, or we should buy their product, or elect them to be our leader, etc.

      They already do that, no fMri needed. Where do you think all the middle and low income tea partiers come from? These poor fools have been trained to vote against their own intere

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Yeah, they just have to convince to to visualize, over and over, whatever they want you to learn.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      All they have to do is convince you to visualize whatever they want you to learn. Over and over. Responding to feedback until you have it perfect.

    • Yup. Been there, done that. Corporations discovered it long ago, pushed coke(acola), got banned(then sold the patents to the government who gleefully use it every day.)
  • The first thing I thought when I saw this wasn't the Matrix. It was Dollhouse. Followed by Chuck.
  • So, did they also try a dead salmon? [prefrontal.org]

    Just think what this could mean: well-educated zombies!

  • Its about core or prime knowledge.

    I.e. you do not try to remember all possible mathematical equations or results for that would be impossible, instead your lean the abstract symbols, meanings and rules of use of mathematics, from there you can formulate and extrapolate any mathematical result. There is no spoon feeding here, you are the one who bends.

    Of course this is all abstract, even the visual self image of you juggling, is only in your mind. Its like using a computer, you can know all there is to be fo

  • by koan (80826)

    It's called television and it's been programming people for decades.

  • All of it. Math is a lot more useful in life than kung-fu.

  • Every fMRI story I read is summarized basically by "Guy 1 puts Guy 2 in fMRI and now ALL THE SECRETS OF THE BRAIN HAVE BEEN REVEALED AND WE CAN CONTROL LAZERS WITH OUR MIND".

    That would be like saying "I looked in a telescope and NOW I AM EMPEROR OF SPACE"

    fMRI is a painfully inexact technique, and sample sizes for fMRI studies are generally very small (either very few subjects or few trials compared to a non-MRI study), because of the expense of MRI time and the difficulty in finding subjects who will actual

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan

Working...