Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain's Object Recognition System Activated By Touch Alone

Date:
May 29, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Portions of the brain that activate when people view pictures of objects compared to scrambled images can also be activated by touch alone, confirms a new report.

Portions of the brain that activate when people view pictures of objects compared to scrambled images can also be activated by touch alone, confirms a new report published online on May 28th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

"That's the nub of the paper," said Harriet Allen of the University of Birmingham. "Part of the brain is for object processing irrespective of the sensory input coming in."

The discovery was made by studying a man, known as HJA, with a condition called visual agnosia after suffering a stroke that left a large bilateral lesion in part of the brain important for object recognition, specifically in the lateral occipital cortex (LO). As a result, although HJA was not blind, he could not process visual input normally; objects appeared to him as unrecognizable jumbles.

"It's difficult to imagine," Allen said. "If he looked at a pen, he might see lines, but he couldn't say which were the pen and which weren't." However, HJA could still recognize everyday objects by grasping them, they show.

In the study, the researchers had HJA and control participants observe pictures of objects and scrambled images while they were being scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, which measures brain activity based on changes in blood flow). Participants were also scanned while they touched objects with one hand.

Within a subset of the regions found in control participants, HJA showed activity only for tactile objects, they report, suggesting that these regions are specifically involved in successful multi-modal recognition. The results show that activation of dorsal LO by tactile input is not secondary to visual recognition. Rather, it can operate directly through the sense of touch.

"Our data indicate, for the first time, that at least some regions in the LO can be activated normally from touch, even when input from ventral LO is lesioned and visual recognition is prevented," the researchers wrote. "This is consistent with estimates of effective connectivity from fMRI that have implied that there are direct connections between somatosensory cortex and LO."

When asked to recognize objects based on touch, early blind participants also show activation in similar brain regions, earlier studies have shown. However, they said, in those who are blind the LO may be recruited to process information differently than it does in sighted people. "Here we provide evidence for dorsal LO activation being driven, in part, directly from touch in a normally developed brain."

The researchers include Harriet A. Allen and Glyn W. Humphreys, of the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Harriet A. Allen, and Glyn W. Humphreys. Direct Tactile Stimulation of Dorsal Occipito-Temporal Cortex in a Visual Agnosic. Current Biology, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.04.057

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Brain's Object Recognition System Activated By Touch Alone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090528120639.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, May 29). Brain's Object Recognition System Activated By Touch Alone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090528120639.htm
Cell Press. "Brain's Object Recognition System Activated By Touch Alone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090528120639.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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