Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shape encoding may start in the retina: Visual system needs information at ultra-high speeds to recognize shapes

12.09.2007
New evidence from the University of Southern California suggests that there may be dedicated cells in the retina that help compile small bits of information in order to recognize objects. The research was conducted by Ernest Greene, professor of psychology in the area of brain and cognitive sciences at USC. The study is published in the Public Library of Science journal, PLoS ONE.

It is well established that the images the observer sees are divided in half as they are sent to the two hemispheres of the brain. When a person looks at the center of an object, the image from the right half of the object will be sent to one hemisphere of the brain and the image of the left half is sent to the other. This is true whether a person uses one eye or two to look at the object. “Given that the primary visual areas in each hemisphere are seeing only half of the object, it has been assumed that communication between the hemispheres was needed to combine the information,” said Greene.

By using a high-speed LED array to display the images, Greene found evidence that the two sides of the retina interact to enhance the effectiveness of shape cues, which he describes as “linkage.” The cells in the retina appear to be coordinating their responses in a way that benefits shape recognition. Further, they do so with unexpected temporal precision.

The study was done by positioning dots around the outer boundaries of objects, forming stimuli similar to silhouettes. The dots were shown, in successive pairs, one pair after the other, and the observers were then asked to identify each shape. Recognition was best if time intervals that separated pairs and pair members were in the submillisecond range. This was true whether both members of the pair were displayed on the same side of the object or on opposite sides. “This finding suggests that the responses from the two sides of the retina are being linked in some manner, and the process of joining the two halves of an object is not done only in the brain,” says Greene.

... more about:
»Cell »Greene »Hemisphere »Retina »responses

“It is unlikely that the nerve signal being sent from the eye to the brain can be precise enough to preserve submillisecond timing differences,” says Greene. Also, for the brain to coordinate nerve signals being sent from opposite sides of the retina, communication between the two hemispheres would be needed. “It strains credulity that these additional processing steps could be accomplished while preserving submillisecond precision in the responses to pair members,” Greene says. He thinks it is more likely that cell structures in the retina link the responses prior to sending the information to the visual cortex. The retina itself may be assessing global relationships among boundary locations, these operations being required for recognition of the shape.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plos.org/
http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0000871

Further reports about: Cell Greene Hemisphere Retina responses

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>