Mind Control: Frontiers in Guiding the Mind [PDF]

John D. Medaglia, Perry Zurn, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Danielle S. Bassett(Submitted on 13 Oct 2016)

The human brain is a complex network that supports mental function. The nascent field of network neuroscience applies tools from mathematics to neuroimaging data in the hopes of shedding light on cognitive function. A critical question arising from these empirical studies is how to modulate a human brain network to treat cognitive deficits or enhance mental abilities. While historically a number of tools have been employed to modulate mental states (such as cognitive behavioral therapy and brain stimulation), theoretical frameworks to guide these interventions - and to optimize them for clinical use - are fundamentally lacking. One promising and as-yet underexplored approach lies in a subdiscipline of engineering known as network control theory. Here, we posit that network control fundamentally relates to mind control, and that this relationship highlights important areas for future empirical research and opportunities to translate knowledge in practical domains. We clarify the conceptual intersection between neuroanatomy, cognition, and control engineering in the context of network neuroscience. Finally, we discuss the challenges, ethics, and promises of mind control...


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