Navigation Links
How the brain routes traffic for maximum alertness

A new UC Davis study shows how the brain reconfigures its connections to minimize distractions and take best advantage of our knowledge of situations.

"In order to behave efficiently, you want to process relevant sensory information as fast as possible, but relevance is determined by your current situation," said Joy Geng, assistant professor of psychology at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.

For example, a flashing road sign alerts us to traffic merging ahead; or a startled animal might cue you to look out for a hidden predator.

When concentrating on a specific task, it's helpful to reconfigure brain networks so that task-relevant information is processed most efficiently and external distractions are reduced, Geng found.

Geng and co-author Nicholas DiQuattro, a graduate student in psychology, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study brain activity in volunteers carrying out a simple test. They compared their results to mathematical models to infer connectivity between different areas of the brain. The study appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The subjects had to look for a letter "T" in a box and indicate which way it faced by pressing a button. They were also presented with a "distractor": another letter T in a box, but rotated 90 degrees.

The distractor was either similar in appearance to the target, or brightened to be more attention-getting.

Subjects did better in trials with an "attention-getting" distractor than a less obvious one, and lit up specific areas of the brain accordingly.

The new work shows that the brain doesn't always "ramp up" to deal with the situation at hand, Geng said. Instead, it changes how traffic moves through the existing hard-wired network -- rather like changing water flow through a network of pipes or information flow over a computer network -- in order to maximize efficiency.

Contact: Andy Fell
University of California - Davis

Page: 1

Related medicine news :

1. Selectively stopping glutathione sensitizes brain tumors to chemotherapy
2. Could Internet Addiction Disrupt Brains Connections?
3. Alcohol Targets Brain Reward Centers in Heavy Drinkers
4. In the brain, ORMOSIL nanoparticles hold promise as a potential vehicle for drug delivery
5. MIT: How does our brain know what is a face and whats not?
6. Personalized gene therapies may increase survival in brain cancer patients
7. Paranoid or Placid? Scans Show Pots Effect on Brain
8. Novel brain tumor vaccine acts like bloodhound to locate cancer cells
9. MRI Scans Show Brain Changes in Kids With Schizophrenia
10. Songbird brain synapses and glial cells capable of synthesizing estrogen
11. NJIT receives patent today for new shunt to aid brain-injured patients
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... A novel class of antimicrobials ... effective in fighting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), one of the major drug-resistant bacterial ... small molecule analogs that target the functions of SecA, a central part of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Using a combination of two blood sugar tests rather ... according to a new study by researchers at the School of Public Health at ... Using Combinations of Blood Glucose Tests ,” published in Frontiers in Public Health, the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... PA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... to a new study by UPMC and KingMed Diagnostics ... over three years found that consultation with UPMC pathologists resulted in significantly altered ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... The Foundation for Breast and Prostate ... joining forces with the award-winning creator and writer of Downton Abbey Julian Fellowes ... at the Union League of Philadelphia. , The benefit, titled “An Evening ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... for the last 15 years, announced today that Michigan-based Family Health Center (FHC) ... care for over 45 years, FHC was awarded the largest Affordable Care Act ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Diagnostics, the U.S.-based manufacturer of point-of-care biometric testing devices ... systems, and PTS Detect™ cotinine systems, has announced the ... the company into the mHealth market. ... The technology is a system that interfaces with mobile ... and uses test strip technology already developed by PTS ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and ST. LOUIS , Nov. ... (NASDAQ: ESRX ) today announced an early renewal ... which began in 1999, will now extend through at ... --> After evaluating pharmacy benefit manager capabilities during ... Express Scripts continues to offer the best health plan ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015   Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Support Company (NDSC) today jointly announced a new ... that utilize the American College of Radiology,s (ACR) Imaging ... to comply with current and emerging value-based payment ... --> By combining clinical decision support, radiology reporting ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: