Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The brain 'joins the dots' when drawing a cartoon face from memory

23.03.2009
In a study by Miall, Gowen and Tchalenko published by Elsevier, in the March issue of Cortex, a brain scanner was used to record the brain's activity in each stage of the process of drawing faces.

The researchers found that the captured visual information is stored as a series of locations or action plans to reach those locations. It is as if the brain remembers key locations and then "joins the dots" with a straight or curved line to achieve the desired image on the page.

Participants who had no particular expertise as artists were studied using an MRI scanner to measure levels of oxygen in the brain. They viewed black and white cartoons of faces and were asked to reproduce them using pencil and paper.

The results show that looking at the cartoons activated visual processing areas of the brain, that are known to be responsive to faces, especially if the cartoon was displayed at the same time as they produced the drawing. But when the subjects had to wait before drawing, there was no maintained activity in these areas. This suggests that the memory of the cartoon face is transformed into a different, non-visual form. Instead, there was increased activity in parietal cortex and frontal areas consistent with the encoding and retention of the spatial information as an action plan, representing a series of targets for ocular fixation or as spatial targets for the drawing action.

In other experiments, the scientists have also precisely measured where people look as they perform these tasks. They conclude that facial information is captured during a sequence of eye movements towards certain features of the cartoons, and the information is stored as spatial locations for subsequent eye and hand actions. The drawing process then recreates these spatial features as the eye and hand are guided by the retained action plans. Finally their work shows that brain imaging, in combination with eye and hand tracking, can dissect complex visually guided tasks into separate functional stages.

This work is an important step towards a full understanding of how sensory information is used to guide actions. The implications are that the brain translates sensory information into action plans as soon possible, rather than maintaining and later copying from a mental image.

Valeria Brancolini | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.elsevier.com
http://www.elsevier.com/locate/cortex

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>