Every once in a while, neuroscience and cognitive development experts take a side road off of the main areas of cognitive study. For instance, the aforementioned study on crack cocaine users, while quite unorthodox, allowed researchers the ability to learn real information about people who were supposedly addicted to hard drugs. This newest study to break away from traditional research involves scientists correctly predicting who will eat more and who will have more sex – all from a simple brain scan.
The study was a clever way for researchers to find out some of the more private details about a group of women who participated in the research. The women were instructed to look at a series of pictures, involving food, nature scenes, animals, and people – some of the pictures of people showed them in sexual positions, but others showed people doing something non-sexual like having coffee or walking in the park. The participants were fooled into thinking their job was to click a button when they saw a person.
However, neuroscientists were actually interested in reading their brain scans when presented with pictures of food and sex. Logically, the women who desired food at a higher-than-average level were much more likely to have gained weight 6 months after the study concluded and the participants came in for a post-research evaluation. Likewise, the women whose brain scans showed high activity when they viewed photographs of humans in sexual situations were much more likely to engage in sex in the 6 months following the study.
The interesting thing about this study is that neuroscientists can accurately predict someone’s behavior based on these brain scans. This sort of scan may become normal for pre-screening certain people for jobs or other such postings. Neuroscience is really heating up!