How Does The Brain Track Moving Objects? Study Finds

Updated On: 

news 11 July featured

Brain News

Researchers at the University of Rochester explored how the brain interprets motion in causal inference. The study is published in the journal eLife.

Understanding Causal Inference

Causal inference” is the process by which the brain decides whether multiple signals are generated from the same or different events. Herein, several neural networks combine or separate visual and vestibular signals to estimate interior self- and exterior scene-motion.

The Study

To understand how the brain interprets sensory information, the researchers performed a surgical experiment. They carried out standard aseptic surgical procedures on two male monkeys (under gas anesthesia) to implant a head restraint device.

Microelectrodes were attached to the monkeys’ brains and the neural activity was recorded. Their eye movements were also monitored using a magnetic search coil technique.

The Findings

The results revealed that a novel neural mechanism with a long-range of response properties is involved in causal inference. This neuron aids the brain in distinguishing between self-motion and the motion of other objects around the self.

Towards Interventions

The researchers are enthusiastic that the findings from the study can help in designing artificial intelligence devices and developing treatments and therapies to treat brain disorders in which causal inference is considered impaired. These include neurological disorders like schizophrenia and autism.

One of the lead researchers, Greg DeAngelis, elaborated: “While the project is basic science focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of causal inference, this knowledge should eventually be applicable to the treatment of these disorders.

To Know More You May Refer To

Kim, H. R., Angelaki, D. E., & DeAngelis, G. C. (2022). A neural mechanism for detecting object motion during self-motion. eLife11, e74971. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.74971

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