Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Keeping our minds on moving pictures

Date:
October 22, 2013
Source:
Universitaet Tübingen
Summary:
Neuroscientists find neural activity in the brain is harder to disrupt when we are aware of it.

We consciously perceive just a small part of the information processed in the brain -- but which information in the brain remains unconscious and which reaches our consciousness remains a mystery. However, neuroscientists Natalia Zaretskaya and Andreas Bartels from the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) at the University of Tübingen have now come one step closer to answering this question.

Their research, published in Current Biology, used a well-known visual illusion known as 'binocular rivalry' as a technique to make visual images invisible. Eyes usually both see the same image -- binocular rivalry happens when each eye is shown an entirely different image. Our brains cannot then decide between the alternatives, and our perception switches back and forth between the images in a matter of seconds. The two images are 'rivals' for our attention, and every few seconds they take turns to enter our consciousness.

Using this approach the two scientists used a moving and a static picture to cause perceptual alternations in their test subjects' minds. Simultaneously they applied magnetic pulses to disturb brain processing in a 'motion area' that specifically processes visual motion. The effect was unexpected: 'zapping' activity in the motion area did not have any effect on how long the moving image was perceived -- instead, the amount of time the static image was perceived grew longer.

So 'zapping' the motion area while the mind was unconsciously processing motion meant that it took longer for it to become conscious of the moving image. When the moving image was being perceived, however, zapping had no effect.

This result suggests that there is a substantial difference between conscious and unconscious motion representation in the brain. Whenever motion is unconscious, its neural representation can easily be disturbed, making it difficult for it to gain the upper hand in the rivalry. However, once it becomes conscious it apparently becomes more resistant to disturbance, so that introducing noise has no effect. Therefore, one correlate of conscious neural codes may be a more stable and noise-resistant representation of the outside world, which raises the question of how this neural stability is achieved.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Natalia Zaretskaya and Andreas Bartels. Perceptual effects of stimulating V5/hMT during binocular rivalry are state-specific. Current Biology, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. "Keeping our minds on moving pictures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091519.htm>.
Universitaet Tübingen. (2013, October 22). Keeping our minds on moving pictures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091519.htm
Universitaet Tübingen. "Keeping our minds on moving pictures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091519.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