Navigation Links
U of M researchers find learning in the visual brain
Date:11/10/2010

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering have found that an early part of the brain's visual system rewires itself when people are trained to perceive patterns, and have shown for the first time that this neural learning appears to be independent of higher order conscious visual processing.

The researchers' findings could help shape training programs for people who must learn to detect subtle patterns quickly, such as doctors reading X-rays or air traffic controllers monitoring radars. In addition, they appear to offer a resolution to a long-standing controversy surrounding the learning capabilities of the brain's early (or low-level) visual processing system.

The study by lead author Stephen Engel, a psychology professor in the College of Liberal Arts, is published in the Nov. 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We've basically shown that learning can happen in the earliest stages of visual processing in the brain," Engel said.

The researchers looked at how well subjects could identify a faint pattern of bars on a computer screen that continuously decreased in faintness. They found that over a period of 30 days, subjects were able to recognize fainter and fainter patterns. Before and after this training, they measured brain responses using EEG, which records electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain.

"We discovered that learning actually increased the strength of the EEG signal," Engel said. "Critically, the learning was visible in the initial EEG response that arose after a subject saw one of these patterns. Even a tiny fraction of a second after a pattern was flashed, subjects showed bigger responses in their brain."

In other words, this part of the brain shows local "plasticity," or flexibility, that seems independent of higher order processing, such as conscious visual processing or changes in visual attention. Such higher order processing would take time to occur and so its effects would not be seen in the earliest part of the EEG response.

Engel says these finding may also help adults with visual deficits such as lazy eye by accelerating the development of training procedures to improve the eye's capabilities.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Falk
jfalk@umn.edu
612-626-1720
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers discover important link between adrenal gland hormone and brain in hypertension
2. Hebrew University researchers discover expanded role for cancer-causing gene
3. Researchers expand cyberspace to fight chronic condition in breast cancer survivors
4. Researchers led by St. Michaels Hospital receive grant to teach new method of CPR
5. Fox Chase researchers identify risk factors for the spread of breast cancer to lymph nodes
6. Mayo researchers find mortality rates from liver diseases underestimated
7. Inhaled steroids increase diabetes risk, say Lady Davis Institute researchers
8. Researchers develop successful method for extracting and archiving patient radiation dose info
9. Potential new treatment for deadly nipah and hendra viruses identified by Weill Cornell researchers
10. UM researchers are studying child-mother interactions to design robots with social skills
11. U of M researchers identify possible key to treating, understanding post-traumatic stress disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... panel system. , The Tranquility privacy panel system was designed to deliver ... Tranquility panels help reduce noise and provide the visual privacy required to maintain ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... ... Allegheny Health Network (AHN) officials today announced a bold new step to ... services in the greater Pittsburgh region. Starting January 23, patients who call AHN by ... same afternoon. , AHN is the first healthcare provider in the ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... GA (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... offers asset protection and financial planning services to communities throughout eastern Georgia, is ... fight against heart disease. , Heart disease kills more Americans every year than ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... locally owned insurance agency which serves Lawrenceville, New Jersey and the surrounding area, ... , Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... Attorney Robert “RC” Pate , founder of The ... the Triumph Over Kid Cancer foundation. Each year, 175,000 children are diagnosed with pediatric ... firsthand the effect of the critical funding gap for research into pediatric cancer research. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Report Details What can be ... going to grow at the fastest rates? This visiongain ... trends, opportunities and prospects. Our 190-page report provides ... areas in the industry and the future market prospects. ... the all the major categories of the ophthalmic devices ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Conference Call and Webcast to Follow Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... results for the fourth quarter of 2016 on Wednesday, February 15, ... ... PM ET on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, during which management will ... other corporate activities. To participate in the conference call, please dial ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 Many patients ... for their medication when a pharmacy just a few ... prescription.  To alleviate this problem Medicationdiscountcard.com has ... to see exactly how much their medication will cost ... Made Easy Medicationdiscountcard.com ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: