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NeuroImage: Multiplexing in the visual brain
Date:3/24/2011

e-of-the-art since it allows fine grained resolution of cortical pattern activity, so-called maps, in which local groups of active nerve cells represent grating orientation. Thereby, a particular grating orientation activates different groups of nerve cells resulting in unique patchy patterns. Their specific map layout encodes actual stimulus orientation.

Transfer of motion information through overlaid activity waves

Jancke: "Our novel imaging method furthermore captures propagating activity waves across these orientation maps. Hence, we additionally observe gratings moving in real-time across the brain. In this way, motion direction and speed can be estimated independently from orientation maps, which enables resolving ambiguities occurring in visual scenes of everyday life." The emerging spatial-temporal patterns could then individually be received and interpreted by other brain areas. To give a picture: a radio gets a permanent stream of broadcasts simultaneously. In order to listen to a particular station one has to choose only the channel to tune. For example, a following brain area might preferentially compute an object's orientation while others process its movement direction or speed simultaneously. In the future, the scientists hope to discover more of the brains real-time action when similar tools are used with increasing stimulus complexity: Naturalistic images are experienced so effortlessly in everyday life. Still it remains an intriguing question how the brain handles such complex data gaining a stable percept every moment in time.


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Contact: Dr. Dirk Jancke
jancke@neurobiologie.rub.de
49-234-322-7845
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert  

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