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 truckdespite your constantly changing position can be a lifesaver. Butscientists do not understand how such constant updating of depth anddistance takes place, suspecting that the brain receives informationnot just from the eye but also from the motion-detecting vestibularsystem in the middle ear.

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

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

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

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

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

"These results demonstrate not only that monkeys can updateretinal disparity information but also that intact vestibular motioncues are critical in reconstructing three-dimensional visual spaceduring motion in depth," concluded Li and Angelaki.

###

The researchers include Nuo Li and Dora E. Angelaki of WashingtonUniversity School of Medicine in St. Louis. The work was supported byNIH grants.

Li et al.: "Updating visual space during motion in depth."Neuron, Vol. 48, 149-158, October 6, 2005, DOI10.1016/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 July 29, 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 July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
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