Researchers from Stanford School of Medicine say they have discovered that a brain region activated when people are asked to work out mathematical calculations is also triggered when people use numbers or quantitative terms in everyday conversation.
The researchers say their findings open up the possibility of developing mind-control or mind-reading devices. For example, they note, a patient left mute following a stroke may one day be able to communicate through passive thinking.
Henry Greely, the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson professor of law and steering committee chair of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, had no part in the study but says the findings are “exciting and a little scary.”
“It demonstrates, first, that we can see when someone’s dealing with numbers and, second, that we may conceivably someday be able to manipulate the brain to affect how someone deals with numbers,” he adds.
However, Prof. Parvizi says it will be a long time before these mind-control devices are implemented: