Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Planned actions improve the way we process information

Date:
January 17, 2012
Source:
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Summary:
Preparing to act in a particular way can improve the way we process information, and this has potential implications for those with learning disabilities. Researchers have shown that using a grabbing action with our hands can help our processing of visual information.

Preparing to act in a particular way can improve the way we process information, and this has potential implications for those with learning disabilities. Researchers funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have shown that using a grabbing action with our hands can help our processing of visual information.

'The research is still at an early stage,' cautions Dr Ed Symes of Plymouth University. 'But our next step is to see how these results might inform ways of helping children with severe learning difficulties.'

The discovery was made in an experiment on what is known as 'change blindness'. Think of spot the difference games -- researchers use the problem of seeing changes in almost identical pictures to see if preparing to act can help us to spot these changes.

The study found that if people were asked to look at two pictures of fruit alternating on a computer screen, they noticed which fruit was different quicker if they were going to grasp an object similar in size of the fruit. Dr Symes found that the 'intention' to grasp something helps with the processing of visual information.

Dr Symes asked his participants to look at pictures of both large and small fruits -- apples, oranges, pears, lemons, mangos, apricots, strawberries and gooseberries etc. When the participants detected which fruit had changed, the participants had to grasp one of two devices. The key to this was that one device was similar in size of the small fruit and the other was similar in size of the big fruit.

The study found that the intention to grasp the small device helped participants notice changes in the smaller fruits quicker. Similarly, the brain processing that occurred in preparing to grasp the large device meant that participants noticed the changes in the larger fruits quicker.

Dr Symes explains this might help to improve the communication skills of children with complex physical and mental special needs. The first problem in assisting such children is assessing what they understand about the world, when they have no reliable means of communicating. They may not be able to speak and may have limited physical capabilities.

The new findings will help test different ways of establishing communication. For example, a child wants a particular toy but they are unable to point; they may be able to make other physical movements such as grasping. Preparing the action of grasping may help the child process information about the toy easier and it might help them communicate this information better. Dr Symes hopes that pairing actions such as grasps with objects such as toys could generally help the child to signal their responses more easily.

'Understanding the world around them is a major problem for these children,' says Dr Symes. 'We are now investigating whether this kind of aligning of stimuli and responses might be one way to making information processing more fluent for these children.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Planned actions improve the way we process information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095531.htm>.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2012, January 17). Planned actions improve the way we process information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095531.htm
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "Planned actions improve the way we process information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116095531.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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