Tech UPTechnologyThe brain can 'see' what is around the corner

The brain can 'see' what is around the corner

The human brain is capable of “predicting” what your eyes will see before seeing it live , a team of neuroscientists from the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom) has shown for the first time, describing in the journal Scientific Reports of Nature how this works mechanism.

The experts used the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) procedure to better understand how the brain anticipates the information it will see , even before our eyes move and directly contemplate the object or situation.

The new research, led by Professor Lars Muckli of the University of Glasgow, used MRI imaging in conjunction with a visual illusion to analyze the human brain’s “constant two-way dialogue” with a group of participants.

We move our eyes approximately 4 times per second, which means that our brains have to process new visual information every 250 milliseconds , yet despite all these developments, our world seems stable. Experts believe that the reason we perceive that the world is stabilized is because our brains are capable of thinking ahead.

Experiment with visual illusions

In the experiment, the illusion was composed of two fixed blinking squares that looked at the observer as a square moving between two locations. During the flashes, the experts instructed the participants to move their eyes.

The researchers took images of the visual cortex, the largest part of the human brain, discovering what and predicting the movement was upgraded to a new spatial position with eye movement, detecting a difference in processing only 32 milliseconds, much faster than believed.

“Visual information is received through the eyes and processed by the visual system in the brain. We call visual information ‘feedforward’ information. At the same time, the brain also sends information to the visual system, this information is called ‘feedback’. The feedback information influences our perception using expectations based on our memories of similar events . Both information interact with each other to produce the visual scenes that we perceive every day “, explains Gracie Edwards, co-author of the work.


Possible help against mental disorders


“This study is important because it demonstrates how FMRI can contribute to this area of neuroscience research. On top of that, finding a feasible mechanism for brain function will contribute to computer brain inspiration and artificial intelligence, and will aid our research on disorders. mental “, concludes Lars Muckli.


The study “Predictive feedback to V1 is dynamically updated with sensory information” has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Referencia: Grace Edwards, Petra Vetter, Fiona McGruer, Lucy S. Petro & Lars Muckli. Predictive feedback to V1 dynamically updates with sensory input, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16093-y


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