Team find brain mechanism that automatically links objects in our minds

2 months ago 16
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When radical spot a toothbrush, a car, a histrion -- immoderate idiosyncratic entity -- their encephalon automatically associates it with different things it people occurs with, allowing humans to physique discourse for their surroundings and acceptable expectations for the world.

By utilizing machine-learning and encephalon imaging, researchers measured the grade of the "co-occurrence" improvement and identified the encephalon portion involved. The findings look successful Nature Communications.

"When we spot a refrigerator, we deliberation we're conscionable looking astatine a refrigerator, but successful our mind, we're besides calling up each the different things successful a room that we subordinate with a refrigerator," said corresponding writer Mick Bonner, a Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist. "This is the archetypal clip anyone has quantified this and identified the encephalon portion wherever it happens."

In a two-part study, Bonner and co-author, Russell Epstein, a science prof astatine the University of Pennsylvania, utilized a database with thousands of scenic photos with each entity labeled. There were pictures of household scenes, metropolis life, quality -- and the pictures had labels for each mug, car, tree, etc. To quantify entity co-occurrences, oregon however often definite objects appeared with others, they created a statistical exemplary and algorithm that demonstrated the likelihood of seeing a pen if you saw a keyboard, oregon seeing a vessel if you saw a dishwasher.

With these contextual associations quantified, the researchers adjacent attempted to representation the encephalon portion that handles the links.

While subjects were having their encephalon enactment monitored with functional magnetic resonance imaging, oregon fMRI, the squad showed them pictures of idiosyncratic objects and looked for grounds of a portion whose responses tracked this co-occurrence information. The spot they identified was a portion successful the ocular cortex commonly associated with the processing of spatial scenes.

"When you look astatine a plane, this portion signals entity and clouds and each the different things," Bonner said. "This portion of the encephalon agelong thought to process the spatial situation is besides coding accusation astir what things spell unneurotic successful the world."

Researchers person long-known that radical are slower to admit objects retired of context. The squad believes this is the archetypal large-scale experimentation to quantify the associations betwixt objects successful the ocular situation arsenic good arsenic the archetypal penetration into however this ocular discourse is represented successful the brain.

"We amusement successful a fine-grained mode that the encephalon really seems to correspond this affluent statistical information," Bonner said.

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Materials provided by Johns Hopkins University. Original written by Jill Rosen. Note: Content whitethorn beryllium edited for benignant and length.

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