19 minutes ago
#Signals on the scales: How the #brain processes #images
How are the images cast on the retina reassembled in the brain? Researchers in Munich and Tuebingen find that processing of visual stimuli occurs at the earliest waystation on the way to the visual cortex -- but not all are treated equally.
In humans, the visual system collects up to 80% of all the sensory data received from the environment. In order to make sense of this deluge of optical information, the visual inputs that are picked up and converted into electrochemical signals by the approximately 130 million light-sensitive cells in the retina are fed into, and processed by a complex network of nerve cells in the brain. How the brain manages to accomplish this task is still not fully understood. A more detailed picture of the steps involved is, however, essential for the further development of artificial visual systems. Now a team led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich neurobiologist Laura Busse, in cooperation with Thomas Euler and Philipp Berens (University) has succeeded in shedding new light on a longstanding and controversial issue in this field. In an article that appears in the leading journal Neuron, the researchers demonstrate that incoming signals from the retina are subjected to selective processing and weighting at the first neuronal waystation in the functional pathway that connects the retina to the visual cortex.
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