I was wondering if there is any early stage research or theorizarion about being able to electrically stimulate the brain to instantiate a particular cognitive sensation (for example, a particular feeling).

In other words, if one person is experiencing a very particular emotion or feeling in response to something, sensors or an apparatus could detect the precise electrical signature of that mental state, then via direct stimulation create it in the mind of another person, so they feel the exact same feeling in that moment.


1 Answer 1


Not for any generic sensation on demand, but some can be generated with stimulation.

You can directly stimulate reward pathways electrically to activate pleasure.

You can stimulate the temporal lobe and get a variety of emotions.

Meletti, S., Tassi, L., Mai, R., Fini, N., Tassinari, C. A., & Russo, G. L. (2006). Emotions induced by intracerebral electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe. Epilepsia, 47, 47-51.

You can also do more nuanced things like directly stimulate in sensory processing areas to bias perceptual decision making.

Hanks, T. D., Ditterich, J., & Shadlen, M. N. (2006). Microstimulation of macaque area LIP affects decision-making in a motion discrimination task. Nature neuroscience, 9(5), 682-689.

None of this has anything to do with replicating the sensation in one brain in another. Brains are different, they are not interchangeable, and there is no good theoretical reason to believe it's possible to make one brain "feel" what another brain feels in any precise way.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.