Scientists Manage to Capture a Thought on Video

Have you ever wondered what a thought looks like? With new technology, scientists in Japan have detected the thought that went through a baby zebrafish’s brain when it saw food.

A double-transgenic larva was embedded in agarose, and a spot was presented on an LCD display placed on the right-eye side. Ca2+ signals were detected on the left tectum upon appearance (ON) and disappearance (OFF) of the spot. The spot was shown for the first 3 s in this 6 s movie. The video is shown at 3x real time.

The researchers allowed a paramecium, a single-celled organism, to swim past the larval zebrafish. They were able to see the activity in the fish’s brain when it saw the prey.

“In the future, we can interpret an animal’s behavior, including learning and memory, fear, joy, or anger, based on the activity of particular combinations of neurons,” 

Fish and human brains function in much the same way, according to the scientists. Although it wouldn’t be possible to use this technology on humans, it could help us understand brain circuits better, and also develop psychiatric medications.

“This has the potential to shorten the long processes for the development of new psychiatric medications,”