Navigation Links
USC study locates the source of key brain function
Date:6/1/2011

Scientists at the University of Southern California have pinned down the region of the brain responsible for a key survival trait: our ability to comprehend a sceneeven one never previously encounteredin a fraction of a second.

The key is to process the interacting objects that comprise a scene more quickly than unrelated objects, according to corresponding author Irving Biederman, professor of psychology and computer science in the USC Dornsife College and the Harold W. Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience.

The study appears in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The brain's ability to understand a whole scene on the fly "gives us an enormous edge on an organism that would have to look at objects one by one and slowly add them up," Biederman said. What's more, the interaction of objects in a scene actually allows the brain to identify those objects faster than if they were not interacting.

While previous research had already established the existence of this "scene-facilitation effect," the location of the part of the brain responsible for the effect remained a mystery. That's what Biederman and lead author Jiye G. Kim, a graduate doctoral student in Biederman's lab, set out to uncover with Chi-Hung Juan of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at the National Central University in Taiwan.

"The 'where' in the brain gives us clues as to the 'how,'" Biederman said. This study is the latest in an ongoing effort by Biederman and Kim to unlock the complex way in which the brain processes visual experience. The goal, as Biederman puts it, is to understand "how we get mind from brain."

To find out the "where" of the scene-facilitation effect, the researchers flashed drawings of pairs of objects for just 1/20 of a second. Some of these objects were depicted as interacting, such as a hand grasping for a pen, and some were not, with the hand reaching away from the pen. The test subjects were asked to press a button if a label on the screen matched either one of the two objects, which it did on half of the presentations.

A recent study by Kim and Biederman suggested that the source of the scene-facilitation effect was the lateral occipital cortex, or LO, which is a portion of the brain's visual processing center located between the ear and the back of the skull. However, the possibility existed that the LO was receiving help from the intraparietal sulcus, or IPS, which is a groove in the brain closer to the top of the head.

The IPS is engaged with implementing visual attention, and the fact that interacting objects may attract more attention left open the possibility that perhaps it was providing the LO with assistance.

While participants took the test, electromagnetic currents were used to alternately zap subjects' LO or IPS, temporarily numbing each region in turn and preventing it from providing assistance with the task.

All of the participants were pre-screened to ensure they could safely receive the treatment, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which produces minimal discomfort.

By measuring how accurate participants were in detecting objects shown as interacting or not interacting when either the LO or IPS were zapped, researchers could see how much help that part of the brain was providing. The results were clear: zapping the LO eliminated the scene-facilitation effect. Zapping the IPS, however, did nothing.

When it comes to providing a competitive edge in identifying objects that are part of an interaction, the lateral occipital cortex appears to be working alone. Or, at least, without help from the intraparietal sulcus.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Perkins
perkinsr@usc.edu
213-740-9226
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional women, brought ... gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. The event ... audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, click here ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... of DevOps and Agile Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the ... Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco ... using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated ... in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College ... to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in ... , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in ... 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced ... 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , Oct. 12, 2017   Divoti USA ... Jewelry up to the standard of the latest FDA requirements, which ... 2017). Anyone in need of Medical ID jewelry such ... Alert Jewelry are engraved in terms of the new ... Divoti offers ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  True Health, a ... amplified its effort during National Breast Cancer Awareness ... cancer risks. ... Oncology calculated that more than 10 million American ... mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and have not had ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... --  Provista, a proven leader in the supply ... power, today announced a new resource area on Provistaco.com ... is the online home for case studies, articles on ... releases, slideshows and events. ... at their fingertips, viewers can also watch short videos ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: