In a landmark research, scientists in Netherlands have developed a mind-reading state-of-the-art software, which can decipher the sounds being spoken to a person from scans of the listener's brain.
The researchers led by Elia Formisano of Maastricht University, found that each speaker and each sound created a distinctive "neural fingerprint" in a listener's auditory cortex, the brain region that deals with hearing. "This is the first study in which we can really distinguish two human voices, or two specific sounds," Formisano said.
Neuroscientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track the brain activity of 7 people while they listened to three different speakers saying simple vowel sounds. This fingerprint was used to create rules that could decode future activity and determine both who is being listened to, and what they are saying, the New Scientist reported.
The researchers hope to match recent advances in using fMRI to identify what a person is looking at from their brain activity. Until now, the best mind-reading feats extended only to differentiating between different categories of sounds, such as human voices versus animal cries.