Carnegie Mellon University
November 22, 2019

"60 Minutes" Highlights CMU Brain Science Research Advances

By Stacy Kish

Stacy Kish
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-9309

Ten years ago, Lesley Stahl, a correspondent with the CBS program "60 Minutes," interviewed Carnegie Mellon University's Marcel Just and Tom Mitchell about the use of brain imaging and machine learning to identify thoughts — based on brain activation patterns or neural signatures. During the program, the researchers showed how functional MRI could be used to identify the thought of a physical object, like a hammer, from a person’s brain scans. Read more from "60 Minutes."

With the decade drawing to a close, Stahl returned to CMU's Pittsburgh campus for an update. Just, the D.O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology at the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and his colleagues can now apply their research method to see brain activation patterns for scientific concepts. "It's like being an astronomer when the first telescope is discovered," Just said. His work is shining light on how abstract concepts, including emotions like "jealousy" and faith," form in the brain. His latest work focuses on detecting whether or not a person has been thinking about suicide.

Watch Sunday's program on the "60 Minutes" website. 

As the birthplace of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, CMU brain scientists have had real-world impact for over 50 years. Learn more about CMU's Neuroscience Institute.

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