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Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Therapy Zone

     An article appeared in the New Scientist {May 6th 2006} “Through the Minds Eye” {tapping into vision, through dreams}. Experiments carried out by cognitive neuroscientist Frank Tong at the Vanderbilt University of Nashville Tennessee using functional magnetic resonance imaging {MRI}, a scanner which pulls pixelated slices from the visual cortex of the brain at 14 per second. The visual cortex receives signals from the retina of the eye via the optical nerve and lateral geniculate nucleus.
    The subject is placed within the narrow confines of a tube, blee-blee-bleeping saturates into the subject’s ear plugs, isolated, save for a mirror tilted above the subject’s face in which is reflected the computer screen with a grid of criss-crossing lines. That screen is the subject’s link to the researchers in the next room who are gawping at the pixelated slices of the subject’s brain. It is those lines which are taken from the visual cortex of the brain using {MRI} and it is the understanding and interpretation of those pixelated lines on the computer screen which makes it possible to determine the images which the subject sees or has seen, such as images of the FA cup final, pages of The Times newspaper, Tower bridge for example. And it may also be possible to read the subject’s dreams using this technique, much in the same way as the doctor-Number 14 in ‘A B and C’ used her technique of seeing Number 6’s brainwave, or energy from the brain wave patterns on a screen, thoughts like sound waves converted into electrical impulses and finally pictures to see the images taken from the visual cortex of Number 6.
    If the technique of functional magnetic resonance imaging can be used to “read out” images from the visual cortex, then it may also be possible to “write in”, the idea of seeing things which are not really there via electrodes that feed camera signals onto the visual cortex of the brain. This in the same way that the doctor-Number 14 in ‘A B and C’ would feed pictures of Engadine’s celebrated parties, the image of ‘A’ and that of ‘B’ onto Number 6’s visual cortex while he is in a state of unconsciousness.
   Experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging has already shown that it is possible to use mind decoding to read ‘orientations lines’ of the visual cortex of the brain even when the subject is not in a state of consciousness!
    Of course such a technique of feeding camera signals onto the visual cortex of the brain could enable blind people to see. Yet as we are all too aware…….. science can be perverted!

Be seeing You

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