Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Important Brain Area Organized by Color and Orientation

17.11.2010
A brain area known to play a critical role in vision is divided into compartments that respond separately to different colors and orientations, Vanderbilt University researchers have discovered. The findings have important implications for furthering our understanding of perception and attention. The research was published Nov. 14, 2010, in Nature Neuroscience.

“In vision, objects are defined by both their shape and their surface properties, such as color and brightness. For example, to identify a red apple, your visual system must process both the shape of the apple and its color,” Anna Roe, professor of psychology and co-author of the new research, said.

“Our study showed that in V4, which is a brain area that plays a role in visual object recognition, there is significant segregation of color/brightness and shape processing regions.

“We also found that processing regions come in different flavors,” she continued. “There are color processing domains, for example, for purple, green and yellow. Shape processing domains come with preference for different orientations, such as horizontal or vertical. This is a functional segregation that has never been seen before in V4.”

The researchers made their discovery by examining V4 in awake macaque monkeys. V4 was already known to play a key role in shape and color perception, but uncertainty about its organization has led to debates among researchers about the overall role it plays in vision.

“One reason this segregation is important relates to visual attention. For example, in your multicolored world, you can easily pick out a purple object if you’re looking for it. How does your brain direct your attention to only purple? The fact that there are purple domains in V4 that are distinct from green or yellow domains gives us a handle on the specificity with which we can focus our attention,” Roe said. “These domain-based ideas about how attention is implemented in the brain are exciting directions that we are currently investigating.”

The researchers speculate the compartmentalization may reflect groups of neurons that are processing more complex aspects of color and form, such as integrating different contours that are the same color, to achieve overall shape perception.

Though V4 is segregated, the different areas do work together to process information.

“Functional segregation does not mean that shape and surface information do not interact. What it means is that there are distinct circuits for color vs. shape,” Roe said.

The researchers obtained their data by using novel imaging methods that will open up new ways of studying cognitive functions such as attention and memory and new ways to study behavior. The team is the first to be able to obtain images that allow the viewer to see the different cortical organizations in awake, behaving monkeys.

Hisashi Tanigawa, research associate in the Department of Psychology, was the paper’s lead author. Haidong D. Lu, now a researcher at the Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Science, was a co-author.

Grants from the National Institutes of Health, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center and Vanderbilt University Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience supported the research.

Melanie Moran | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>