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 A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

nachricht CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

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

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>