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Decoding techniques interrogate more of the information in the brain scan. Rather than asking which brain regions respond most strongly to faces, they use both strong and weak responses to identify more subtle patterns of activity. Early studies of this sort proved, for example, that objects are encoded not just by one small very active area, but by a much more distributed buy cheap christian louboutin array.
These recordings are fed into a 'pattern christian louboutin for cheap for women classifier', a computer algorithm that learns the patterns associated with each picture or concept. Once the program has seen enough samples, it can start to deduce what the person is looking at or thinking about. This goes beyond mapping blobs in the brain. Further attention to these patterns can take researchers from asking simple 'where in the brain' questions to testing hypotheses about the nature of psychological processes asking questions about the strength and distribution of memories, for example, that have been wrangled over for years. Russell Poldrack, an fMRI specialist at the University of Texas at Austin, says that decoding allows researchers to test existing theories cheap authentic christian louboutin from psychology that predict how people's brains perform tasks. "There are lots of ways that go beyond blobology," he says.
In early studies1, 2 scientists were able to show that they could get enough information from these patterns to tell what category of object someone was looking at scissors, bottles and shoes, for example. "We were quite surprised it worked as well as it did," says Jim Haxby at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, who led the first decoding study in 2001.
Soon after, two other teams independently used it to confirm cheap christian louboutin shoes for sale fundamental principles of human brain organization. It was known from studies using electrodes implanted into monkey and cat brains that many visual areas cheap christian louboutin shoes react strongly to the orientation of edges, combining them to build pictures of the world. In the human brain, these edge loving regions are too small to be seen with conventional fMRI techniques. But by applying decoding methods to fMRI data, John Dylan Haynes and Geraint Rees, both at the time at University College London, and Yukiyasu Kamitani at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, Japan, with Frank Tong, now at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, demonstrated in 2005 that pictures of edges also triggered very specific patterns of activity in humans3, 4. The researchers showed volunteers lines in various orientations and the different voxel mosaics told the team which orientation the person was looking at.