Scientists Are Planting False Experiences Into Peoples' Brains, Inception-Style

Neurofeedback trained people to see what wasn't there

brain scan
Images from a patient with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)Wikimedia Commons

In the future, we might be able to go to a doctor and have new memories or experiences incepted into our brains.

Researchers set out to explore induced associative learning by planting simple subliminal messages in participants' minds. Without knowing what they were being trained to do, the subjects were taught to see red when presented with pictures of black and white stripes, and to see red more often than green whenever they looked at these slatted lines.

While lying in an MRI machine, they were told to “try to somehow regulate your brain activity." Only that. Not to imagine anything specific. Using neurofeedback and a higher paycheck whenever their brains lit up in "red" activity, the test subjects consistently saw red — without any idea that this is what they were trained to do. After 500 rounds of this, the effect lasted for three to five months after the experiment.

The researchers think this type of neurofeedback inception could one day help treat disorders such as depression and autism.

[h/t Stat]