As a journalist who writes about neuroscience, I’ve gotten a lot of super enthusiastic press releases touting a new breakthrough in using brain scans to read people’s minds. They make it sound like a brave new future has arrived. But whenever I read these papers and talk to the scientists, I end up feeling conflicted. What they’ve done–so far, anyway–really doesn’t live up to what most people have in mind when we think about mind reading. Then again, the stuff they actually can do is pretty amazing. And they’re getting better at it, little by little.