Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dartmouth scientists shed light on how our brains see the world

19.11.2015

A Dartmouth study reveals how the brain understands motion and still objects to help us navigate our complex visual world.

The findings have a number of potential practical applications, ranging from treatment for motion blindness to improved motion recognition algorithms used in airport and other public security systems.


Zhengang Lu, a doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, and his colleagues have revealed how the brain understands motion and still objects to help us navigate our complex visual world.

Credit: Zhengang Lu

The study appears in the journal Neuroimage. A PDF is available on request.

"By analyzing how terrorists would move in public spaces and incorporating this action signature into pattern recognition algorithm, better accuracy of recognition of terrorist suspects may be achieved than with facial-feature based recognition algorithm," says co-lead author Zhengang Lu, a doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Our brain's visual system consists of a "where" (dorsal) pathway and a "what" (ventral) pathway. A normally function brain can imply motion from still pictures, such as the speed line in cartoons being interpreted as motion streaks of a still object. However, patients with lesions to the dorsal pathway know where objects are but have difficulty recognizing them, while patients with lesions to the ventral pathway have trouble recognizing objects but no problem locating them.

To survive in a dynamic world, the sensitivity of the human visual system for detecting motion cues is a critical evolutionary advantage. For example, people with akinetopsia (the inability to perceive motion) have difficulty crossing the street because they can't gauge oncoming traffic -- they see moving objects as a series of stills, like an object moving under strobe lights. People with object agnosia (the inability to recognize objects) have difficulty navigating everyday life.

The Dartmouth researchers studied neural activity to understand how the brain processes motion in still pictures of animate and inanimate objects. Their findings showed that the brain may process motion differently based on whether it is animate motion or inanimate motion. This suggests the brain not only categorizes objects into animate versus inanimate, but it knows the location of objects based on whether they are animate or inanimate.

"Our findings suggest the brain's two visual pathways interact with each other instead of being separate when processing motion and objects," Lu says. "To fully understand a complex scene when multiple objects moving at different speed, the brain combines the motion signal with the knowledge of how a particular object will move in the world. Our results might not be able to provide treatment directly, but they suggest that treatment for people with motion blindness and object agnosia should consider the functional interaction between these two pathways."

###

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Available to comment are co-lead authors Zhengang Lu at Zhengang.Lu.GR@dartmouth.edu and Assistant Professor Ming Meng at Ming.Meng@dartmouth.edu.

Broadcast studios: Dartmouth has TV and radio studios available for interviews. For more information, visit: http://communications.dartmouth.edu/media/broadcast-studios

Media Contact

John Cramer
john.cramer@dartmouth.edu
603-646-9130

 @dartmouth

http://www.dartmouth.edu 

John Cramer | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation
05.06.2020 | Penn State

nachricht Protecting the Neuronal Architecture
05.06.2020 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>