Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Haven't my neurons seen this before? What happens in the brain with familiar pictures?

Date:
August 24, 2014
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
The world grows increasingly more chaotic year after year, and our brains are constantly bombarded with images. A new study reveals how neurons in the part of the brain responsible for recognizing objects respond to being shown a barrage of images. Researchers found that when subjects were exposed to familiar and unfamiliar images in a rapid succession, their neurons -- especially the inhibitory neurons -- fired much more strongly and selectively to images the subject had seen many times before.

A new study from Carnegie Mellon researchers shows how neurons react to a stream of images. Test subjects were trained to look at images of items (below) until those images became familiar.
Credit: Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint project between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh

The world grows increasingly more chaotic year after year, and our brains are constantly bombarded with images. A new study from Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), a joint project between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, reveals how neurons in the part of the brain responsible for recognizing objects respond to being shown a barrage of images. The study is published online by Nature Neuroscience.

The CNBC researchers showed animal subjects a rapid succession of images, some that were new, and some that the subjects had seen more than 100 times. The researchers measured the electrical response of individual neurons in the inferotemporal cortex, an essential part of the visual system and the part of the brain responsible for object recognition.

In previous studies, researchers found that when subjects were shown a single, familiar image, their neurons responded less strongly than when they were shown an unfamiliar image. However, in the current study, the CNBC researchers found that when subjects were exposed to familiar and unfamiliar images in a rapid succession, their neurons -- especially the inhibitory neurons -- fired much more strongly and selectively to images the subject had seen many times before.

"It was such a dramatic effect, it leapt out at us," said Carl Olson, a professor at Carnegie Mellon. "You wouldn't expect there to be such deep changes in the brain from simply making things familiar. We think this may be a mechanism the brain uses to track a rapidly changing visual environment."

The researchers then ran a similar experiment in which they used themselves as subjects, recording their brain activity using EEG. They found that the humans' brains responded similarly to the animal subjects' brains when presented with familiar or unfamiliar images in rapid succession. In future studies, they hope to link these changes in the brain to improvements in perception and cognition.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Travis Meyer, Christopher Walker, Raymond Y Cho, Carl R Olson. Image familiarization sharpens response dynamics of neurons in inferotemporal cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3794

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Haven't my neurons seen this before? What happens in the brain with familiar pictures?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140824152347.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2014, August 24). Haven't my neurons seen this before? What happens in the brain with familiar pictures?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140824152347.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Haven't my neurons seen this before? What happens in the brain with familiar pictures?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140824152347.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
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