Brain hacking: using neurofeedback to master conflicting wills in your mind

I've written before about Moran Cerf -- celebrated neuroscientist, former military hacker, and good-guy bank robber -- who also happens to be a great storyteller. Here's a video in which Cerf recounts some clever and fascinating neuroscience experiments that use neurofeedback to help people resolve competition between different thoughts and wills in their minds. The applications are even more interesting -- mentally controlling a robotic arm, for example.

Moran Cerf: Hacking the brain (Thanks, Moran!)


  1. He is comparing the relative skills of the right and left hemispheres of the brain with some other aspects of the multiple parts of our personality in a totally ridiculous way.

  2. I love his storytelling style, and I love how he makes me imagine possibilities. He must be a really inspiring person to work with.

  3. He’s conflating a neural pathway with an actual agent of independent thought, e.g. the left and right hemispheres, which is probably incorrect.

    It’s VERY interesting that they can influence the neural pathway via feedback, but I would imagine every thought or concept or competing set of ideas is composed of thousands of neural pathways, so which pathway is the one you’d assign this controlling/controllable agency to?

    His final summation is probably the most informative information you can glean from his presentation.

  4. “Master conflicting wills” in this case means simply being able to learn to think of one thing (Marilyn Monroe, or, say, a pink elephant). It’s basically the same as meditation.

    That said, I have long wanted to use biofeedback to help train meditation. While I won’t be sticking electrodes in my brain, it looks like off-the-shelf diy EEG caps are getting cheaper and cheaper to make. I had last heard that it would be ~$200, but a quick Google finds an Instructible that claims you can make an EEG for about $10 in parts — I might have a new weekend project!

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