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fMRI does NOT reveal what we are thinking?


From Richard Chirgwin at the Register:

This is what your brain looks like on bad data

A whole pile of “this is how your brain looks like” fMRI-based science has been potentially invalidated because someone finally got around to checking the data.

The problem is simple: to get from a high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging scan of the brain to a scientific conclusion, the brain is divided into tiny “voxels”. Software, rather than humans, then scans the voxels looking for clusters.

When you see a claim that “scientists know when you’re about to move an arm: these images prove it”, they’re interpreting what they’re told by the statistical software.

Now, boffins from Sweden and the UK have cast doubt on the quality of the science, because of problems with the statistical software: it produces way too many false positives. More.

See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away


Man has consciousness with almost no brain Whatever is going on isn’t what we thought.

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From the very beginning when they published the first reports about fMRI used to describe/analyze human thinking, one couldn't take it very seriously. To say it nicely, such an exercise was very reductionist at best. A gross oversimplification of the studied object. But what else is new? One could understand that a prosthetic hand attached to the right nerves at the wrist could react to the received signals to open/close the hands. Perhaps some isolated signals associated with commanding thoughts could be identified by fMRI. But the whole enchilada? C'mon! As beloved professor John Lennox said: "Nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists." Dionisio

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