As PR practitioners, our job here at MUIPR is all about building relationships. It’s about getting to know the public on an emotional level and using that connection to build personalized communication. Just like a personalized approach is a central part of what we do, so too can it be a major benefit in other fields, including science and medicine. Thanks to recent developments in brain imaging technology, tailoring different things — like education and clinical treatment — to each unique individual may have just gotten a lot easier.

 

A number of recent studies have demonstrated that images of the brain produced by noninvasive brain scans can be utilized to make predictions about the future behavior of an individual. This can include predicting anything from learning capabilities or potential criminality to health-related behavior.

 

Predictive brain scans can help predict such things as the likelihood of an individual succeeding in school or of a criminal becoming a repeat offender (sciencedaily.com)

Predictive brain scans can help predict such things as the likelihood of an individual succeeding in school or of a criminal becoming a repeat offender (sciencedaily.com)

Prior to these studies, images of the brain served a primary purpose of helping scientists and medical practitioners gain deeper insight into the human brain, in general. This has been invaluable in that it allowed us to better understand the functioning of the mind and to build on our understanding of the human neurological system.

 

The possibility of using brain imaging to predict behavior and understand the unique nature of each individual’s brain is a groundbreaking development that takes brain scans further than ever. It can mean being able to personalize education approaches based on individuals’ needs, predict the likelihood of drug or alcohol addiction, or predict how medical patients will respond to certain treatments.

 

Discussing the value of predictive brain imaging as it pertains to education, Dr. John Gabrieli of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge stated, “If we can use neuroimaging to identify individuals at high risk for future failure, we may be able to help those individuals avoid such failure altogether.”

 

Of course, there are potential drawbacks which are important to take into consideration with this development. Building on the example of education, the ability of brain imaging to identify individuals at high risk for failure runs the risk of enabling those individuals to not apply themselves to meet and pass benchmarks. However, it should rather serve as an indication of the unique educational approach that these students may benefit from or the additional resources that can help them stay on track.

 

The key is that predictive brain imaging must be utilized for the purpose of producing personalized approaches that serve the sole purpose of helping individuals in any way possible.

 

How do you think predictive brain imaging can transform the way brain scans impact people more clearly in their daily lives? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi