John-Dylan Haynes



Theory and Analysis of Large-Scale Brain Signals

Office: Philippstr. 13, Haus 6, 10115 Berlin
Room: 117

Phone: +49 (0) 30 2093 6762
Fax: +49 (0) 30 2093 6771
EMail: haynes-please remove this



Is it possible to predict what a person is thinking based alone on their current brain activity? This project investigates ways to decode and predict a person’s thoughts based from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Such “thought reading” can reveal how information is neurally encoded in the brain. The idea is that it is only possible to decode a thought if one knows the correct code. Such research has many potential application, as for example in detection of deception, in the control of computers and artificial prostheses by brain activity, or even (more controversial) in market research.


This project investigates the relationship between consciousness, attention and dynamic changes in brain connectivity. We have so far demonstrated an increased connectivity between early and late visual areas when subjects become aware of stimuli. Changes in spatial attention lead to highly specific changes in connectivity within early visual areas. Wenn subjects were asked to compare two stimuli presented in their visual field the connectivity between their retinotopic representations was was increased. Such studies of connectivity reveal how remote brain areas cooperate in mediating awareness and attention.

Short Curriculum Vitae

Professor at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin (2006); Group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (2005); Postdoc at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience und Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London (2003 - 2005); Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) in Psychology at Bremen University ("summa cum laude") (2003); Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience und Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London (2001 - 2003); Postdoc at the Institute of Neuroscience, Plymouth (2001 - 2003); Postgraduate researcher at the Institute for Neuropsychology and Behavioural Neurology, Bremen University (2001); Postgraduate researcher at the Hanse-Institute for Advanced Studies, Delmenhorst, Germany (1999 - 2001); Postgraduate researcher at the Institute for Psychology and Cognition Research, University of Bremen (1997 - 2000); Diploma (MSc) in Psychology at Bremen University (1997); Student research assistant at the University of Bremen (1992 - 1997).

Selected Publications

Kahnt T, Grueschow M, Speck O, and John-Dylan Haynes
Perceptual Learning and Decision-Making in Human Medial Frontal Cortex
Neuron (2011), doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.02.054

Tusche A, Bode S, Haynes JD.
Neural responses to unattended products predict later consumer choices.
J Neurosci. 2010 Jun 9;30(23):8024-31. PubMed PMID: 20534850.

Kahnt T, Heinzle J, Park SQ, Haynes JD.
The neural code of reward anticipation in human orbitofrontal cortex.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 30;107(13):6010-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 20231475; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2851854.

Howard JD, Plailly J, Grueschow M, Haynes JD, Gottfried JA.
Odor quality coding and categorization in human posterior piriform cortex.
Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jul;12(7):932-8. Epub 2009 May 31. PubMed PMID: 19483688; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2834563.

Haynes JD.
Decoding visual consciousness from human brain signals.
Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 May;13(5):194-202. Epub 2009 Apr 15. PubMed PMID: 19375378.

Soon CS, Brass M, Heinze HJ, Haynes JD.
Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain.
Nat Neurosci. 2008 May;11(5):543-5. Epub 2008 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 18408715.

Haynes JD, Sakai K, Rees G, Gilbert S, Frith C, Passingham RE
Reading hidden intentions in the human brain.
Curr Biol. 2007 Feb 20;17(4):323-8. Epub 2007 Feb 8. PubMed PMID: 17291759.

Haynes JD, Rees G.
Decoding mental states from brain activity in humans.
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jul;7(7):523-34. Review. PubMed PMID: 16791142.


Brain-reading movie: One of our postdocs, Mart Bless, has made a movie to show how ‘brain reading’ might be used to reveal whether a suspect has been at a crime scene. Please click the picture to download this film. (15 MB)