Brain anticipates events to learn routines

A new study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston helps explain why practice makes perfect. Baylor researchers found that neurons in the visual cortex, the part of the brain responsible for vision, were more active when study monkeys anticipated the occurrence of predictable events. The results of the study were published in the Oct. 10 issue of Nature. “We really don’t have a great understanding of what changes in the brain when we practice things,” said Dr. Geoffrey M. Ghose, first author of the paper and an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor. “These results show that as we practice and anticipate which events are going to happen, the brain is also preparing itself.”

Dr. John H. R. Maunsell, a professor of neuroscience at Baylor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is the study’s lead author.

Researchers at Baylor trained two macaque monkeys to pay attention to changes at a specific location of a display screen. They were rewarded with juice if they pulled a lever when the change occurred. The activity of neurons in the visual cortex was measured during the experiment.

“Activity in the neurons went up when the event was likely to happen, and went down when it was unlikely to happen,” Ghose said. Based on what they see, primates develop expectations of what might happen next. For example, a baseball player anticipates that the pitcher will throw the ball towards him after he winds up, because he has seen him perform this task countless times before. People in every day life also use this function of their brain each time they do something routine, like driving a car or crossing the street.

“Our study gives us some clues of how we make use of our experiences to change specific signals in the brain,” Ghose said. “The results are a window into how we represent time. They tell us how accurately we know when things are going to happen and how well we can prepare ourselves.”

Media Contact

Anissa Anderson Orr EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://research.bcm.tmc.edu/

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Studies and Analyses

innovations-report maintains a wealth of in-depth studies and analyses from a variety of subject areas including business and finance, medicine and pharmacology, ecology and the environment, energy, communications and media, transportation, work, family and leisure.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Customized programming of human stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) have the potential to convert into a wide variety of cell types and tissues. However, the “recipes” for this conversion are often complicated and difficult…

Electronic skin has a strong future stretching ahead

A material that mimics human skin in strength, stretchability and sensitivity could be used to collect biological data in real time. Electronic skin, or e-skin, may play an important role…

Fast-moving gas flowing away from young star caused by icy comet vaporisation

A unique stage of planetary system evolution has been imaged by astronomers, showing fast-moving carbon monoxide gas flowing away from a star system over 400 light years away, a discovery…

Partners

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close