Toronto: The action a person is planning can now be foretold moments before it is executed, claim researchers.
"This is a considerable step forward in our understanding of how the human brain plans actions," says the study co-author Jason Gallivan, University of Western Ontario doctoral student.
Over the course of the one-year study, human subjects had their brain activity scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), reports the Journal of Neuroscience.
They performed one of three hand movements: grasping the top of an object, grasping the bottom of the object, or simply reaching out and touching the object.
The team found that by using the signals from many brain regions, they could predict, better than chance, which of the actions the volunteer was intending to do merely seconds later, according to a Western statement.
"Neuroimaging allows us to look at how action planning unfolds within human brain areas without having to insert electrodes directly into the human brain. This is obviously far less intrusive," explains Western psychology professor Jody Culham, senior co-author of the study.