Brain Maps Can Be Used to Predict Behavior

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Source: Quanta Magazine

By Emma Wu

This has long been a question that people have wanted to understand. Can your next move be predicted? According to a study released in 2014, there is a way to do so using brain maps. Brain maps are brain scans that will track the firing of neural circuits around the brain, thus creating a path that was a response to a stimulus. The path of the neural circuits or areas of the brain are used to form the brain map. By tracing the path of the neural circuits based on the stimulus, researchers could predict which brain path would be run based on previous stimulated brain paths. 

The first full brain map was performed on a roundworm 35 years ago. It took almost 15 years to complete this entire brain map. Due to increasing technological advances, an entire brain map of a worm’s brain can nowadays be completed within a month. The more the animal must make a neural connection—typically as a survival reaction—the stronger the neural wiring map, or connectome, is. Each connectome is slightly different, which is why connectomes cannot be mapped as a broad topic. However, because of the differences, these connectomes can be used to show differences in genomes of different species and organisms. However, these connectomes cannot show the brain function that was performed. This is where the downside to these connectomes are. But by mapping the path of these connectomes through the different areas of the brain, the researchers can predict what the behavior performed will be, due to reasoning from the functions of the different brain areas. 

Hence, by using these brain scans and following strong connectomes to find frequently performed behaviors or actions, one’s behavior can be predicted based on the stimulus. It is quite possible to determine the path of the connectomes on the brain map, despite the amount of time and work that it would take. However, in the future and counting the advancing technological adaptations, predicting one’s next behavior might not need to take so long to map the brain. With their potential to connect different connectomes from people’s brains, brain maps can be used to predict the next behavior of different stimuli for all people. There are certain survival functions that are broadly executed by all humans, so they share these connectomes, the behavior predictable for everyone. Maybe your next move can be predicted.