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How does your brain tell time?

nse to stimuli, they were able to show that the network could tell time.

Their simulations indicated that a specific event is encoded within the context of events that precede it. In other words, if one could measure the response of many neurons in the brain to a tone or a flash of light, the response would not only reveal the nature of the event, but the other events that preceded it and when they occurred.

The UCLA team tested the model by asking research volunteers in the study to judge the interval between two auditory tones under a variety of different conditions. The researchers found that volunteers?sense of timing was impaired when the interval was randomly preceded by a "distracter" tone.

"Our results suggest that the timing mechanisms that underlie our ability to recognize speech and enjoy music are distributed throughout the brain, and do not resemble the conventional clocks we wear on our wrists," said Buonomano.

Because time-related information is critical to understanding speech, determining how the brain tells time represents an important step toward understanding the causes of diseases, such as dyslexia, that result in impaired linguistic abilities, he noted.

The next step for the research will be recording the response from a large number of brain cells to determine whether they encode information about the timing of stimuli.
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Source:University of California - Los Angeles


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