Navigation Links
USC scientists probe connection between sight and touch in the brain

Shakespeare famously referred to "the mind's eye," but scientists at USC now have also identified a "mind's touch."

USC scientists have discovered that as you look at an object, your brain not only processes what the object looks like, but remembers what it feels like to touch it as well. This connection is so strong that a computer examining data coming only from the part of your brain that processes touch can predict which object you are actually looking at.

Building on previous work demonstrating a comparable link between the visual and auditory sectors of the brain, Antonio and Hanna Damasio's research group at the USC Dornsife Brain and Creativity Institute, used magnetic resonance brain scans and specially programmed computers to explore how memory and the senses interact.

The findings appear in the September issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex. The article, authored by Kaspar Meyer, Jonas Kaplan, Ryan Essex, Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio, was highlighted as Editor's Choice.

The Damasio team asked a group of participants to watch five video clips of hands touching various objects, then used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the part of the participants' brains that is responsible for processing touch sensations. When a specially programmed computer was given the data generated by the scan, the computer was able to accurately predict, just based on how the "tactile" part of the cerebral cortex had reacted, which of the five video clips the participant had been seeing.

"When asked to imagine the difference between touching a cold, slick piece of metal and the warm fur of a kitten, most people admit that they can literally 'feel' the two sensations in their 'mind's touch,'" said Kaspar Meyer, the lead author of the study.

"The same happened to our subjects when we showed them video clips of hands touching varied objects," he said. "Our results show that 'feeling with the mind's touch' activates the same parts of the brain that would respond to actual touch."

Human brains capture and store physical sensations, and then replay them when prompted by viewing the corresponding visual image.

"When you hold a thought in your mind about a particular object, that is not just mental fluff. It is rather a detailed memory file that is being revived in your brain," Antonio Damasio said.


Contact: Robert Perkins
University of Southern California

Related biology news :

1. Biomedical/health informatics scientists to present cutting-edge science, health IT
2. Scientists offer way to address age-old questions
3. USC scientists identify key protein linked to acute liver failure
4. Scientists make turfgrass safer for animals, deadly for insects
5. Scripps Research scientists pinpoint shape-shifting mechanism critical to protein signaling
6. New cellular surprise may help scientists better understand human mitochondrial diseases
7. Scripps Research scientists establish new class of anti-diabetic compound
8. Scripps Research scientists produce first stem cells from endangered species
9. Scientists announce human intestinal stem cell breakthrough for regenerative medicine
10. Scientists unravel the cause of rare genetic disease: Goldman-Favre Syndrome explained
11. Hurricane Irene: Scientists collect water quality and climate change data from huge storm
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into the ... vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer electronics ... and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive industry ... vehicle. Europe , ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... RESTON, Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... announced today that it has released a new version ... Daon customers in North America ... gains. IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF ... customers are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, founders ... initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other microbiome ... investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful entrepreneurs-turned-angels ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will ... New York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ... and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th ... at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola ... a corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock ... news release there are no corporate developments that would ... --> --> About ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, has officially ... to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has exploded in ... racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because of their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: