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 A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>