‘Brainprints’ Pick Out an Individual from the Crowd

Researchers identify people by the way their brains are wired By Simon Makin | October 14, 2015 | A specific pattern of connections among different brain areas provides a neural fingerprint. Credit: Emily Finn Advertisement We all feel unique, believing that our inner lives and our physical selves are different somehow than those of others. Various methods for identifying an individual confirm our intuitions, whether through inspecting the whorls of a fingerprint or by sequencing a strand of DNA. Scientists also look to the source of that feeling of being special. But a commonly form of brain imaging used over the past few decades—functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—has been unable to provide the desired specificity to derive an individual “brainprint.” Most studies examine differences between the brains of entire groups who differ in some…

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