Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Brain Needs The Middle Ear To Track Depth

Date:
October 8, 2005
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
When you jaywalk, your ability to keep track of that oncoming truck despite your constantly changing position can be a lifesaver. But scientists do not understand how such constant updating of depth and distance takes place, suspecting that the brain receives information not just from the eye but also from the motion-detecting vestibular system in the middle ear.

When you jaywalk, your ability to keep track of that oncoming truck despite your constantly changing position can be a lifesaver. But scientists do not understand how such constant updating of depth and distance takes place, suspecting that the brain receives information not just from the eye but also from the motion-detecting vestibular system in the middle ear.

In studies with monkeys reported in the October 6, 2005, issue of Neuron, Nuo Li and Dora Angelaki of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated how such depth motion is updated and strongly implicated the vestibular system in that process.

In their experiments, the researchers trained the monkeys to perform memory-guided eye movements. The animals were first shown a light a fixed distance away from their head. Then the researchers flashed one of eight other, closer "world-fixed" target lights. Next, with the room lights turned off, the monkeys were moved either forward or backward and the fixed-distance light flashed, signaling the monkeys that they should look at where they remembered the world-fixed light had flashed. Finally, the room lights and target light were turned on, so the monkey could make any corrective eye movement to the re-lit target. For comparison, the researchers also conducted experiments in which the monkeys were not moved.

Such an experimental design using passive motion enabled the researchers to study depth-tracking in the absence of any clues the monkeys might have gleaned from their own motor movements--leaving vestibular system as the most likely source of information.

Finally, the researchers eliminated the vestibular systems in two of the monkeys and performed the same eye-movement experiments.

They found that the eye motion of monkeys in the first experiments indicated that they were clearly able to update their perception of the depth of the target, even in the absence of information from their own motor movements. By contrast, the monkeys that lacked vestibular systems showed compromised ability in the task.

"These results demonstrate not only that monkeys can update retinal disparity information but also that intact vestibular motion cues are critical in reconstructing three-dimensional visual space during motion in depth," concluded Li and Angelaki.

###

The researchers include Nuo Li and Dora E. Angelaki of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The work was supported by NIH grants.

Li et al.: "Updating visual space during motion in depth." Neuron, Vol. 48, 149-158, October 6, 2005, DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.08.021 www.neuron.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "The Brain Needs The Middle Ear To Track Depth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007100639.htm>.
Cell Press. (2005, October 8). The Brain Needs The Middle Ear To Track Depth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007100639.htm
Cell Press. "The Brain Needs The Middle Ear To Track Depth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007100639.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins