Decoding part of the complex system used by the brain to store memories has allowed scientists to determine a person’s location by looking at brain scans, Wired reports. A study took images of the hippocampus—the part responsible for spatial relationship and short-term memories—as individuals navigated a virtual-reality room, and researchers found that certain activation patterns correlated to the subject’s location in the virtual room.
“We could read their spatial memories, so to speak,” said one of the study’s authors. Previous studies in rats had suggested that spatial memories were stored randomly, but “there must be a structure to how this is coded in the neurons,” the scientist said. “Otherwise we couldn’t have predicted this.”