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Reading minds with fMRI

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2014 - Autumn

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Researchers at the School of Medicine can reconstruct images of human faces based on fMRI readings of what’s embedded in our brains. Alan S. Cowen, a Yale undergrad at the time, postdoctoral fellow Brice Kuhl, Ph.D., and their advisor Marvin M. Chun, Ph.D., professor of psychology, created a library of subjects’ responses to hundreds of pictures of faces. When subjects saw new faces, the researchers reconstructed what the subjects were viewing by comparing the scans to a mathematical model based on that library of responses. Cowen believes that as the accuracy of these reconstructions increases, they could be applied to research on how autistic children respond to faces. The research was published in Neuroimage in March.