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This Is Your Brain On Apps: New App Crowdsources Neuroscience Experiments

Smartphones let scientists peek beneath our skulls sans scalpels.

This Is Your Brain On Apps: New App Crowdsources Neuroscience Experiments

Just in time for Brain Awareness Week, scientists at Britain's UCL have begun a new effort to carry out neuroscience experiments on an "unprecedented scale," according to the press release. By leveraging the explosion of smartphone and table technology and the scientific-but-sexy vogue for crowdsourcing data, the team has released a free app called The Great Brain Experiment. The idea is to glean data on a potentially massive scale on the subject of memory, impulsivity, risk-awareness, and visualization.

The science team usually performs neuroimaging experiments using small groups of volunteers and high-tech equipment like functional MRI machines. The aim of the app is to sample a potentially broader population than their usual volunteer pool can manage.

Neuroscience isn't the unique preserve of scientists: Recent advances in research have shown how your brain can help filmmakers work out which of their movies will be a blockbuster, and the new technique of "neuromarketing" may help marketing companies work out how best to make brands "sticky" in your mind, as well as predict what you will buy.

Related story: A Plastic Salad Bowl Was The Cortex: Or, How I've Been Mapping The Brain For 16 Years

[Image: Flickr users topgold,]