With a bit of refinement of the algorithm and sensor resolution, you could go stick yourself into an fMRI machine, close your eyes, picture a duck, and the machine would be able to project an image of a duck (or something duck-like) onto a screen. You could even fall asleep in one of these, and record video of your dreams.
The main significance here is that we finally have proof that memories (engrams, in neuropsychology speak) are physical rather than conceptual. We now know that, as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, specific memories could be erased. It also gives us further insight into degenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders, which are mostly caused by the (faulty) interaction of neurons. “The more we know about the moving pieces that make up our brains,” says Steve Ramirez, co-author of the paper. “The better equipped we are to figure out what happens when brain pieces break down.”
As recently noted by Nick Bostrom and Anders Sandberg (Sci Eng Ethics 15:311–341, 2009), “What is new is the growing interest in creating intimate links between the external systems and the human user through better interaction. The software becomes less an external tool and more of a mediating ‘‘exoself’’. This can be achieved through mediation, embedding the human within an augmenting ‘‘shell’’ such as wearable computers (…) or virtual reality, or through smart environments in which objects are given extended capabilities”
novelty-seeking has its good and bad points. Exploring new situations is definitely a plus, as we know from research on the related quality of openness to experience. Impulsivity is not such a desirable quality, on the other hand, as it can lead you to make rash choices that you later come to regret. A strong drive toward extravagance can lead you to be overly dependent on your brain's pleasure centers and also lead you to spending splurgers. Disorderliness has its drawbacks, particularly when your job depends on your being able to show a presentable face to the public or when you have to abide by someone else's rules.
Interestingly, marijuana seems to induce a state of hyper-priming, in which the reach of semantic priming extends outwards to distantly related concepts. As a result, we hear "dog" and think of nouns that, in more sober circumstances, would seem to have nothing in common.
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