Sarah Laszlo puts an EEG headset on a research participant's head. (credit: Jonathan Cohen/Binghamton University)

While your brain on drugs may be analogous to a fried egg, your brain on Instagram may be like a super-secure form of identification, researchers report in a new study. Fingerprints are so twentieth century. The authors envision future security systems that authenticate or grant access by monitoring a user’s brain while looking at random pictures, such as snapshots of Anne Hathaway or a slice of pizza.

According to the researchers, our brains create unique patterns of neural activity in the first few milliseconds during which we process and react to certain pictures, including images of food, celebrities, and infrequently used words. When the researchers collected and analyzed such patterns from 50 adult participants, ranging in ages from 18 to 43, they were able to create unique brain-based passcodes that identified individuals with 100-percent accuracy and, so far, seem impossible to duplicate.

Study coauthor Sarah Laszlo, a neuroscientist at Binghamton University in New York, told Ars:

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