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Salk scientists map the frontiers of vision
Date:1/6/2012

e visible through its eyes, is represented by a corresponding collection of neurons in its brain. The researchers precisely recorded which neurons were associated with which area of the animal's visual field.

The scientists studied seven different areas of the animal's visual cortex containing full neuronal "maps" of the visible outside world, and found that each area has a specialized role in processing visual information. For instance, certain areas were more sensitive to the direction objects move in space, while other areas were focused on distinguishing fine detail.

With these maps of brain function in hand, the Salk researchers and others now have a baseline against which they can compare the brain function of mice in which circuit function is manipulated using genetic methods. Ultimately, Callaway says, understanding in detail how the mouse brain works will illuminate the workings of the human mind.

"This gives us new ways to explore the neural underpinnings of consciousness and to identify what goes wrong in neural circuits in the case of diseases such as schizophrenia and autism," Callaway said.


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Contact: Andy Hoang
Ahoang@salk.edu
619-861-5811
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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