Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Reveal How Signals Travel Through Rat's Whiskers

Date:
May 18, 2006
Source:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Summary:
Like blind peoples' fingers, rats use their whiskers to engage in active sensing -- a combination of movement and touch -- when trying to figure out the location and identity of a certain object.

Like blind peoples' fingers, rats use their whiskers to engage in active sensing -- a combination of movement and touch -- when trying to figure out the location and identity of a certain object. But how the brain decodes the signals it receives from the whiskers is unclear.

Related Articles


Ph.D. student Chunxiu Yu, working together with colleagues Dori Derdikman and Dr. Sebastian Haidarliu in the laboratory of Prof. Ehud Ahissar of the Weizmann Institute's Neurobiology Department, have now provided surprising new insights into the mechanisms involved, suggesting that the signals travel from the whiskers through three distinct regions in the thalamus -- a central gateway of the brain -- along three separate pathways: One conveying signals relating to whisker movement; the second conveying touch signals (providing information on where an object is); and the third conveying complex combinations of movement and touch signals (providing information on what the object is). They propose that these pathways function within three parallel feedback loops that control various aspects of sensor movements much like thermostats controlling temperature -- by constantly monitoring the signals they receive and changing their responses accordingly.

The authors suggest that these separate pathways work in parallel on different levels of a brain hierarchy, with the higher, more complex levels (object identification) building on the lower levels (movement and touch) to implement new behaviors.

Prof. Ehud Ahissar's research is supported by the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences; the Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Institute for Brain Research; the Edith C. Blum Foundation; the Irving B. Harris Foundation; and Ms. Esther Smidof, Switzerland. Prof. Ahissar is the incumbent of the Helen Diller Family Professorial Chair in Neurobiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weizmann Institute of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weizmann Institute of Science. "Scientists Reveal How Signals Travel Through Rat's Whiskers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060518080231.htm>.
Weizmann Institute of Science. (2006, May 18). Scientists Reveal How Signals Travel Through Rat's Whiskers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060518080231.htm
Weizmann Institute of Science. "Scientists Reveal How Signals Travel Through Rat's Whiskers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060518080231.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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