Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sound and vision: Visual cortex processes auditory information, too

Date:
May 25, 2014
Source:
University of Glasgow
Summary:
"Seeing is believing," so the idiom goes, but new research suggests vision also involves a bit of hearing too. "So, for example, if you are in a street and you hear the sound of an approaching motorbike, you expect to see a motorbike coming around the corner. If it turned out to be a horse, you'd be very surprised," researchers said.

Researchers suggest that auditory input enables the visual system to predict incoming information and could confer a survival advantage.
Credit: © Antonioguillem / Fotolia

Scientists studying brain process involved in sight have found the visual cortex also uses information gleaned from the ears as well as the eyes when viewing the world.

Related Articles


They suggest this auditory input enables the visual system to predict incoming information and could confer a survival advantage.

Professor Lars Muckli, of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, who led the research, said: "Sounds create visual imagery, mental images, and automatic projections.

"So, for example, if you are in a street and you hear the sound of an approaching motorbike, you expect to see a motorbike coming around the corner. If it turned out to be a horse, you'd be very surprised."

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, involved conducting five different experiments using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to examine the activity in the early visual cortex in 10 volunteer subjects.

In one experiment they asked the blindfolded volunteers to listen to three different natural sounds -- birdsong, traffic noise and a talking crowd.

Using a special algorithm that can identify unique patterns in brain activity, the researchers were able to discriminate between the different sounds being processed in early visual cortex activity.

A second experiment revealed even imagined images, in the absence of both sight and sound, evoked activity in the early visual cortex.

Lars Muckli said: "This research enhances our basic understanding of how interconnected different regions of the brain are. The early visual cortex hasn't previously been known to process auditory information, and while there is some anatomical evidence of interconnectedness in monkeys, our study is the first to clearly show a relationship in humans.

"In future we will test how this auditory information supports visual processing, but the assumption is it provides predictions to help the visual system to focus on surprising events which would confer a survival advantage.

"This might provide insights into mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or autism and help us understand how sensory perceptions differ in these individuals."

The project was part of a five-year study funded by a €1.5m European Research Council consolidator grant entitled 'Brain reading of contextual feedback and predictions', and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The researchers will explore more sounds to find out how precise predictive coding in the brain can be.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Petra Vetter, Fraser W. Smith, Lars Muckli. Decoding Sound and Imagery Content in Early Visual Cortex. Current Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.04.020

Cite This Page:

University of Glasgow. "Sound and vision: Visual cortex processes auditory information, too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525155316.htm>.
University of Glasgow. (2014, May 25). Sound and vision: Visual cortex processes auditory information, too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525155316.htm
University of Glasgow. "Sound and vision: Visual cortex processes auditory information, too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525155316.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) — Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. 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