Peering Into The Mind: Mittani EEG Brainscan

Kore Lorenz 2017-10-11

Over the weekend there have been some weird broadcasts coming from The Mittani’s Twitter feed.

What in the galaxy is he up to now?

Electroencephalography! That’s a mouthful. Let’s use EEG for short.

Here, let me Google that for you:

EEG technology records microvolt fluctuations produced by neurons firing in the neocortex by using electrodes placed along the scalp. The analysis of measured waveforms lets us functionally peer into the mind, providing insights into higher cognitive functions or revealing abnormalities within the brain.

If that all seems like mad science to you, that’s because it is!

Mad Props

The magic you see here is brought to us by award-winning UCLA professor, author, and neuroscientist, Dr. Dario Nardi.

But how did he end up hanging out with us at Eve Vegas?

Well, I’m a bit of a junkie on psychology, Jung’s cognitive functions, and really anything about humans that can be studied empirically, so naturally I’ve been following Dario’s research for years. I really admire a person who is so dedicated to this mutual passion, having many insights on the topic of my own, and one day I figured, why not just reach out?

No doubt Dr. Nardi would be right at home among our ranks: Rocket scientist gone anthropologist, with interests spanning broadly, from aerospace engineering to East Asian studies, human complex systems to Burning Man. He’s authored numerous books on personality, organizational development, and even tabletop gaming via his own publishing company on the side. It’s meant to be!

So, one thing leads to another and next thing you know we invite Dario to chill with us in Vegas, and he says, “Okay, it’s only a small hop for me to visit, let’s make it worthwhile!”

Mad Science

Humans have known about electrical phenomena in the brain for well over a century, with the first human EEG recording occurring in 1924. EEG tech has advanced a long way in the last decade, with consumer grade wireless headsets coming in at less than $1000, generally marketed for use in things like gaming, personal well being, or manipulating gadgets with the Force.

Here’s the EEG hardware used in our session with The Mittani getting setup:

Don’t worry, EEG is a completely passive technology only recording spontaneous electrical activity produced along the scalp — there’s no way this thing can control your brain.

Just to make sure though, I offered up The Mittani as a guinea pig, to confirm EEG would be a safe and worthwhile experience, and to take it all in with my own eyes.

The experience was amazing. We’re really excited about Dr. Nardi’s lab and the potential of his research — a main goal of his is to discover real, implementable benefits of EEG tech that can help individuals really change the things that matter most in their lives.

We asked how we could help.

An Invitation For You

Dr. Nardi travels the world speaking and consulting with organizations from Mountain View (at Google) all the way to Stockholm, always learning something new each place he goes. He mentioned to us a few different groups he’d like to meet with, to further expand his body of research. We hit on ideas for people right here within our virtual community:

Individuals with a military or law enforcement background and/or individuals with a “sensing / thinking” preference (i.e. ESTJ, ISTJ, ESTP, ISTP).

If that’s you, we’re delighted to forward you an invitation to participate in a research session with Dr. Nardi. (Sign up here.) Not sure if that’s you? Here’s Dario’s assessment to help you determine your cognitive type and preferences.

Normally, a professional functional neuroimaging scan would run you some $$$ (think getting a sleep study, or an epilepsy diagnosis, or finding out whether or not that aunt you hate is actually brain dead after all … … … okay, too far).

This session is totally free to you and purely for research, as Dario uses neuroscience and technology to find insights into creative flow and maximize potential for every personality. And, of course, you’ll receive a report of your results when he’s done crunching the data.

I think Dr. Nardi says it best:

Neuroscience offers us a wonderful opportunity to clarify and perhaps even redefine who we are and what we are capable of. Knowing the brain lessens guesswork while promoting a valuable idea: Every person comes into this world with capabilities and potential, and together we can prosper by our different gifts. (Neuroscience of Personality, 2011, p. 7)

Thank you, Dario, for letting us share your work!

If you’re interested in participating in a session, please sign up via this form or contact me with any questions at

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  • Thomas Hagan

    This is awesome! Lot of great resources to check out too!

    October 12, 2017 at 12:11 am
  • Galileo007

    Well made. The linked information is a serious plus.

    October 12, 2017 at 2:34 am
  • There was a recent / ongoing study that I was approached about at the VA hospital not too long ago. It was in the lobby of the blood lab. They asked if I would agree to an additional sample for their project, and gave me some release forms. Sure, it’s a good thing right? I agreed and gave an extra sample.

    I received a packet of paperwork in the mail a week later and discovered it was a genome mapping study of one million veterans’ dna. The part that disturbed me were the questions they wanted me to answer and I assume use to correlate with my genes. Downright intrusive questions not just about me, but my immediate and extended family, and my history.

    Anonymous or not, I have two problems with this type of study. First, they will presumably draw some conclusions between the surveys and DNA. Pick your dystopian science fiction movie, Minority Report is the one that comes to mind for me, and pretend this is how it starts.

    The second issue I have is the problem of causation versus correlation. A lot of those questions related to PTSD trauma and mental health issues, and I have to assume the most you could infer from DNA is possibly a predisposition to a PTSD reaction -following- combat trauma. That there would be one to be found at all I disagree very strongly. People of all professions and ages experience difficulty after being scared for their life, not just military.

    I’m sharing this in the comments of this article because of the part where they are looking for military participants. Chances are you will get a significant number of combat veterans, so I wonder if this is another attempt to draw conclusions about PTSD or stress.

    The way this strikes me is about as acceptable as trying to map DNA to find a gay gene. I also wonder if an answer is found, then what do you do with it?

    Oh hey but it’s free

    Completely sober and dispassionately I oppose this type of study. My suggestion would be to avoid it, for the simple possibility that a person, not just a vet, would find themselves fifty questions deep in a survey before getting to the really intrusive questions and then feel like they’re too committed to simply walk out.

    October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am
    • Alot Rain

      I’m not aware of any field of research in which the implementors did not at least once screw up to the worst possible degree for the given endevour type. So I look forward to seeing how badly the developing genetics market blunders in the near future – hopefully from an unaffected continent.

      Human genetics research is cool, human genetics application is grey as heck. Its the leap from the natural constraint of being able to choosing who you are to being able to control what you are – which is a frightening degree of freedom when performed by entities you actually trust.

      That said I don’t see much correlation between the morality of this science and the field of genetics. Perhaps someone will find a way to exploit short duration brain recordings in a large scale, unethical ways – I don’t see it happening personally though.

      October 12, 2017 at 8:58 am
      • Brain scans. Like phrenology, these waves mean you’re a serial murderer or have a predisposition to violence. Something like that.

        In general I disagree with going deeper than free will, outside of therapy.

        My biggest question is basically why do they want Military or Law Enforcement types, and what are the background questions accompanying this study. I’d like to see the research thesis and read it for myself.

        October 13, 2017 at 12:35 am
        • Alot Rain

          Good point on the brain scan to serial murderer connection. Forgot about that stuff.

          I’d say the starting point to why they interested in law and military personal is that some of the most effective means of progress is the studying the breaking points of systems.

          One of the less touted ends of the second world war was the literal feeding frenzy in the field of child psychology. Britain and France had huge amounts of orphans, delivered simultaneously with very similar physiological conditions. There was much experimentation during that period as to how to deal with children in those circumstances. As the sample size was so large they made a lot of meaningful discoveries – of which many were at the expense of children they didn’t know how to treat.

          I agree that going deeper then free will is dubious, mostly because I disagree with genetic or physiological tendencies being used as excuses to justify behavior. Identifying bias in police or military personal could be used to both train them to be more efficient/safe and conduct themselves in a more moral manner – but I don’t trust any company, government or line of governments to not exploit that data, so meh.

          The thing with grey research is that I prefer it being performed in public so there is some awareness of it’s state of maturity and thus grounds to start discussing how to regulate it. For instance, I heard someone say once that if the US military had to stop its development programs it would take the rest of the world 20 years to catch up – which means that whatever scientific ends they’ve achieved, it would (by this example) be 20 years before the public would be aware of any discoveries which would require serious legislation.

          October 13, 2017 at 10:16 am
  • Xenuria

    Now I understand why this reminded me of the sleep studies I had done.
    In my experience these things can be faked out by the end user. You just have to take what your thinking, put it inside a mental box and tell yourself that thing is less or more important, then think of things of that desired level of important in association with the things in the box. You can do this and make that device spit out pretty much whatever intensity or contrast thereof you feel like with enough practice.

    October 12, 2017 at 11:34 am
  • Xenuria

    Now I understand why this reminded me of the sleep studies I had done.
    my experience these things can be faked out by the end user. You just
    have to take what your thinking, put it inside a mental box and tell
    yourself that thing is less or more important, then think of things of
    that desired level of important in association with the things in the
    box. You can do this and make that device spit out pretty much whatever
    intensity or contrast thereof you feel like with enough practice.

    You could also trick it into showing different spots, but that is
    slightly more complicated and involves mental association of more
    complex and difficult to emulate things like emotion. Same trick with
    the box though, you just have to convince yourself the box is being
    smelt not seen or Seen and not heard, etc. Then this perceptual change
    will be reflected in the outcome of a device like this. This is MUCH
    harder to do and took me some time before I was able to really fuck with

    October 12, 2017 at 11:39 am
    • Xenuria Xenuria

      I still have autism.
      Gender is still a social construct that differs from country to country.

      Where are you confused or is your username indicative of my folly in responding to you?

      October 12, 2017 at 9:03 pm
  • thinlyveiled

    Agreeing with the other well thought opinions on here about how this sort of “research” is both dangerous in its level of “disclosure” and the following postulates it hopes to leverage in thinly veiled “research” that is really bent on monetary/fame/power gain for those associated, and onto the world with its “conclusions.” i.e. Sounds like another typical “Imperium” “pie in the sky” idea (like certain books, ways of treating people, etc.) As always, a typical lack of respect and consideration for anyone but those on the “inside.” (Note: If this is over your head, please don’t criticize this post because you obviously don’t understand and I will not explain it further as it really isn’t meant for you anyways, but rather the author, Mittens, and the researcher.)

    I leave you with this story from Sir Isaac Asimov to illustrate my point more thoroughly. I hope you can find a text version of it but here is at least part 1 on Youtube.

    The simple and undeniable logic behind compassion/communication/ and empathy seem to escape those NT’s bent on pygmalionizing the world. As many others have pointed out to you time and again, we are the Holmes to your Moriarty sir. You may not mean to be so ignorant, I understand it proceeds from your own personal scripts and archetypes…but it is not welcome. No amount of “superior intellectual thought” will change that. Simple is simple because of the supremacy of its logic – not the lack of its intellect. I.e. if it ain’t broke….don’t fix it. S enough for ya? 🙂 At any rate, enjoy Sir Asimov’s story – Stranger in Paradise. It illustrates much as to why this sort of “research” and its implications (especially military) are best just left to the annals of simplicity and the realms of individual freedom; a problem unfortunately with many things in our society these days – not just brain “pattern” research.

    October 16, 2017 at 1:43 am
    • Kore Lorenz thinlyveiled

      Thanks for the feedback. While there is no “monetary/fame/power gain” to be had here, given the history of things, I can understand the reasonable suspicion.

      This was totally my idea, not The Mittani’s. It’s a topic I’m personally interested in, which started for me nearly a decade ago when I realized I was not so great at “people-ing” and sought out frameworks to help me better understand and communicate with others. I tried out Keirsey’s Myers Briggs assessment in 2008 and immediately declared it horoscope-y garbage. I’m the type who likes to prove things wrong to its fullest extent (in this case, that MBTI is horoscope-y garbage), and so I launched into my own research about it.

      I ended up being sort of right and sort of wrong on that one. There is indeed a lot of horoscope-y MBTI garbage out there, but I also discovered there’s a lot of history on it that I didn’t know, and once I had sorted and removed a lot of the crap that didn’t work, I found I actually had something that has improved my life more than any other single thing.

      Anyway, I realize none of that is likely to ease any concerns, it is just my own personal story for context. As far as my intentions, I saw an opportunity here to 1) get a firsthand look into the research myself, short of actually running out and getting a degree in neuroscience, 2) provide this community with an invitation to have that same firsthand look I did, and 3) provide Dario Nardi with more resources for his research, so I and anyone else who follows him can benefit from his increased knowledge and insights into the topic.

      I would like to continue finding opportunities that the community is interested in and can benefit from. If you (or anyone else reading) have any feedback on better ways to approach that in the future, or any particular things you would like to see, please let me know here or via the email above

      October 18, 2017 at 2:32 am
  • After the fact yeah, of course I understand why they want such a deep survey. But most of my problem is with the fact they will draw conclusions from DNA and reported history. I think there is a HUGE rift between what’s coded into our DNA and the experiences we have in our lives.

    In terms of the billions of neurons that produce brain activity, too, there is a much deeper level of fidelity that can be had compared to this equipment. If it was possible to map behavior to a very exact sequence of neurons, then I might feel comfortable with the study. In contrast, the cloud of electrical activity is about as accurate as looking at light pollution of cities from the international space station. The fidelity isn’t there yet.

    Assuming they’re interested in PTSD, I would prefer the effort of studies and grants be spent strictly on the causes of PTSD (combat), and the results (therapy). I believe it’s the only thing we have technology to study right now. Brain activity can be distinguished between memories and motor functions according to the region, and I don’t see how this equipment produces anything more specific.

    October 20, 2017 at 4:05 am