Scientists Predict Weight Gain and Sexual Activity by Peeking at the Brain

It sounds a bit like science fiction, but a group of researchers from Dartmouth College were able to observe students’ brain activity to predict their future behavior.

In the study, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of 58 incoming first-year college females. Before the scan, the women were weighed and told it was part of standard procedure. While in the scanner, the participants viewed a variety of images — of animals, the environment, appetizing food and people — and were asked to press a button if a person was present in each photo. The students were naive to what the researchers were really studying, which was the activity in an area of their brain called the nucleus accumbens, also known as the “reward center.” >

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