Neural forecasting. How our brain predicts the future?

neoiro.jpgOur brain is able to predict the outcome of future events better than we do. A certain part of the brain knows when something is going to happen so even if we consciously think otherwise. Open neurodiagnosis in the future, can predict the voting results or changes in the financial markets.

To find out whether it is possible to predict the behavior of the market, examining a small number of people, Brian Knutson (Brian Knutson) from Stanford University in California and his team scanned the brain activity of 30 people, at a time when they made the decisions on the financing of 36 projects with krupoderova site Kickstarter. Then they were asked whether they want to Fund a particular project.
When the Kickstarter campaign ended a few weeks it turned out that 18 of the 36 projects received sufficient funding. After studying the brain scans of the participants, the team found that activity in the area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens differed when they considered the projects that became the winners.

Scientists have developed a special algorithm for recognition of this activity of the brain. Using neural activity of the nucleus accumbens, the algorithm was able to predict what the Kickstarter campaign will be funded with an accuracy of 59.1% is more than would be expected under random distribution.

This contrasted with what is consciously thought of by the volunteers. When considering each project they were asked to rate how they liked it; and how he, in their opinion, able to raise the required funding. In contrast to their own brain activity, the subjects predicted the results of financing with an accuracy of 52.9% — which is not much better than random guessing.

The team of Knutson was so surprised at the results, repeated the experiment with new participants and new projects on Kickstarter — and got the same results.

“This is a very fascinating paradox, says Stefan Bode the University of Melbourne in Australia. — How does the brain “know” that you will be successful and what is not, although the man himself doesn’t realize this?»

Precise explanation of this phenomenon scientists yet. Perhaps the fact that the person in the decision weighing the various factors, and not always listening to the “opinion” of a group of neurons in the brain responsible for predicting when thinking about the financing of the project and about whether it will support other people.

Since the activity of this brain region occurs at the beginning of the decision-making process, she comes to the surface of consciousness and is not always decisive. However, on average, people are more inclined to listen to it than ignore it.

“If we understand the origin of this phenomenon, it can be a major step forward in the field of neural prediction of behavior and may apply to different areas such as health care or Finance,” says Bode.

Using other parts of the brain, it is possible to further improve the prediction accuracy. When a team of Knutson applied to the algorithm to all neural activity, they could predict the results of the Kickstarter with 67% accuracy.

Knutson says such neuroprogenitors can be used in situations where the research sample are not representative, or when it is unclear what is the target audience. For example, marketing research or opinion polls in political elections, in which the sample does not always predict the exact results of the vote. Perhaps the study of neural activity in here will help.