Tuesday, 24 Aug, 2010 Science
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Researchers Use Mind-Reading Technology to Prevent Terrorist Attacks

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Students and researchers from the Northwestern University in Illinois decided to carry out an experiment that would demonstrate that it is possible to prevent terrorist attacks by reading the people's minds.

The students planned the attack and the researchers were able to obtain information on the attack by monitoring their P300 brain waves, which represents brief electrical patterns in the cortex. These waves take place when meaningful data is presented to a person with "guilty knowledge." In the experiment the data was a mock planned attacked. However, scientists consider that their technology will be able to help prevent a real attack.

During the study, researchers attached to the scalps of the students electrodes and showed them on a computer monitor the names of cities such as Boston, Houston, New York, Chicago and Phoenix. The cities were presented randomly. Researchers found that in nearly every case, the name of the location that the students planned to attack evoked the largest P300 responses.

According to J. Peter Rosenfeld, professor of psychology in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the team of scientists was able to spot 10 out of 12 terrorists. In addition, they managed to identify 20 out of 30 crime-related details, informs Gizmag.

"The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge, suggesting that our complex protocol could identify future terrorist activity," he said.

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