Can We Read Each Other’s Minds?

For the Chapter 2 First Impression Post, I selected the “How We Read Each Other’s Minds” TED talk presented by Rebecca Saxe.

I chose this talk because I was interested how we could already read minds. Then I thought maybe this video teaches telepathy. The title of the talk made me feel like I was missing out on something so it was an easy choice for me.

The talk started out with the special part of the brain called the RTPJ. It is the part of the brain which focuses on figuring out what other people are thinking. Then Dr. Saxe talked about the early development of this brain region. She showed a video of the difference in this brain region between a 3, 5, and a 7 year old.

The test was called the False Belief Task. The task involved 2 Pirates. 1 Pirate left his cheese sandwich on a chest to get a drink and the wind blew it over. Another Pirate had a cheese sandwich and put his sandwich on the same chest to go get a drink. Then the first Pirate came back. Then Dr. Saxe asked each participant which sandwich was the first Pirate going to take. The 3 year old chose the one on the ground. The 5 and 7 year old said the one on the Chest. The correct answer was the one on the chest. Then she asked the kids should the first Pirate get in trouble for taking the other’s sandwich? The 3 and 5 year old said yes. The 7 year old said the wind should get in trouble.

Then Dr. Saxe presented the adult version of the test. It turned out there is a negative correlation between the amount of blame people put on the defendant to the amount of RTPJ response so the more the RTPJ was functioning, the less amount of blame the defendant would recieve.

Lastly, she talked about a device called TMS. It sends a magnetic pulse to specific part of the brain and interferes with neurons. She used this device on people’s RTPJ and repeated the False Belief Task. The results showed the people thought defendant should receive less blame.

I found the TMS part to be the most interesting because it suggests building on the TMS could eventually lead to brain control or even curing mental diseases where certain parts of the brain don’t function at all.

I found the presenter trustworthy. She reported exactly how she conducted each experiment and showed videos for 2 of them. She said much more testing needs to be conducted and she said nothing controversial.

My research idea would be to see if it’s possible to use the TMS technology to prevent someone from lying. I would identify the parts of the brain involved in lying using FMRI. I would give them questions where lying would benefit them. Then I would use the TMS to send a magnetic pulse to the part of the brain which helps the person think about their ego. If the TMS eliminates the ego protection thought process, the person should never lie.

One thought on “Can We Read Each Other’s Minds?

  1. I concur that the presenter seemed to be trustworthy, she had demonstrated that she had a strong understanding of the topic and that she had also done an ample amount of research. Not only that, but she did also provide the videos which also spoke about her credibility. I believe that you have a very interesting research idea outlined in your post. I think that it would be very interesting to try and utilize the fMRI to understand which parts of the brain are used most whilst someone is lying. It may also be useful to utilize technologies such as an EEG or MEG to gain even more understanding on these areas. This experiment may also be useful to see if the TMS will have any effect on subjects who have injuries or imbalances in these regions of the brain. Very interesting idea, thank you for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s