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:6/25/2016)... ... ... Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported by ... lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest common ... the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, ... at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health ... annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out ... family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers ... would throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for ... $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same ... wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... is actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging ... the past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a million ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, ... Board will take whatever measures required to build a ... stock which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink ... Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly ... to understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay Area ... Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness ... and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, ... today announced the five finalists of Lyme ... disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  American Respiratory Labs (ARL), a ... now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments in patients, homes, thanks ... Inc. Patients are no longer limited to having ... PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne R. of ... the comfort of her own home. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: