New study suggests the brain predicts what eyes in motion will see

August 25, 2009,

When the eyes move, objects in the line of sight suddenly jump to a different place on the retina, but the mind perceives the scene as stable and continuous. A new study reports that the brain predicts the consequences of eye movement even before the eyes take in a new scene.

The study, "Looking ahead: The perceived direction of gaze shifts before the eyes move," published in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's peer-reviewed Journal of Vision, asked subjects to shift their eyes to a clock with a fast-moving hand and report the time on the clock when their eyes landed on it. The average reported time was 39 milliseconds before the actual time. As a control task, the clock moved instead of the eyes, and the reported arrival times averaged 27 milliseconds after the actual time.

"We've revealed a moment in time when things are not perceived as they actually are," said lead researcher Amelia Hunt, PhD, of the University of Aberdeen's School of Psychology. "These findings serve as a reminder that every aspect of our experience is constructed by our brains."

The report suggests that the prediction is a result of remapping, where neurons involved in become active or dormant to help the brain maintain a stable visual environment despite the constant shift of images on the .

According to the report, "Remapping allows locations to be continuously represented across the eye movement by maintaining both current and expected locations simultaneously, facilitating the transition between the two." Hunt added: "The finding implies that we experience the predicted consequence of an eye movement as though it is actually occurring, albeit just for a moment."

Hunt said the research might lead to more investigation of the brain's ability to predict and its role in perception, as well as the link between and actual experience. The next step may be to examine under what circumstances predictive processes occur, what function they serve and to what degree they influence our perception of events, she said.

Source: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Electrical implant reduces 'invisible' symptoms of man's spinal cord injury

February 19, 2018
An experimental treatment that sends electrical currents through the spinal cord has improved "invisible" yet debilitating side effects for a B.C. man with a spinal cord injury.

Brainwaves show how exercising to music bends your mind

February 18, 2018
Headphones are a standard sight in gyms and we've long known research shows listening to tunes can be a game-changer for your run or workout.

Newborn babies who suffered stroke regain language function in opposite side of brain

February 17, 2018
It's not rare that a baby experiences a stroke around the time it is born. Birth is hard on the brain, as is the change in blood circulation from the mother to the neonate. At least 1 in 4,000 babies are affected shortly ...

To sleep, perchance to forget

February 17, 2018
The debate in sleep science has gone on for a generation. People and other animals sicken and die if they are deprived of sleep, but why is sleep so essential?

Lab-grown human cerebellar cells yield clues to autism

February 16, 2018
Increasing evidence has linked autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with dysfunction of the brain's cerebellum, but the details have been unclear. In a new study, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital used stem cell technology ...

Fragile X syndrome neurons can be restored, study shows

February 16, 2018
Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting one out of every 3,600 boys born. The syndrome can also cause autistic traits, such as social and communication deficits, as well ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.