Penn Psychology Professor Michael J. Kahana can read your mind. Well, not quite, but give him a couple years–he’s pretty close. In an attempt to show how electric signals in the human brain reflect thought, Kahana discovered that our memories form a “neural fingerprint” that is different for each person.
In this recently published study, Kahana implanted electrodes into the brains of epileptic patients about to undergo surgery. He asked them to examine, and then repeat back, a list of words. Kahana found that certain “meaning signals” allow us to group similar thoughts together, like “duck” and “goose.” Each brain does this differently, which is where the “fingerprint” business comes in. This gave him clues as to how our brains organize new information, which is quite revolutionary indeed.
“Neural fingerprints? YES, OF COURSE!” said that psychic on South Street. “We’ve been doing that this whole time.”