Feb 242006
 

According to a study published recently in Nature, neurons firing synchronously help to focus the brain’s attention on certain tasks and lead to quicker response times. When neurons fire independently their electrical output is nothing but noise, and no coherent signal is discernible in the static. When even a few neurons fire synchronously, their individual signals reinforce one another, and a tone arises from the background noise. The study, a collaboration between Robert Desimone, from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands, expands on previous work by Desimone which concluded that neurons fired synchronously during periods of concentration. The new experiments indicate that neural synchronization also helps the brain detect and react quickly to events.

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Nov 052005
 
Visual Neural Patterns

source: Poggio/DiCarlo Labs

MIT has published a news release about how neuroscientists in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research have recently made significant advances in their attempts to learn how the inferotemporal (IT) cortex identifies and categorizes visual data. The ability to visually recognize objects, while usually taken for granted because it happens quickly, automatically, and subconsciously, is actually a complex problem for the brain to solve. This research provides some insight into how the brain encodes, formats and saves visual information.

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Oct 192005
 

Macaca mulatta in Guiyang

By Einar Fredriksen [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

LiveScience.com published a summary today of a study that will be appearing in the October 20th issue of the journal Neuron regarding associative memories in rhesus monkeys. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have been trying to determine how associative memory works and have produced some surprising results about what happens neurologically when it would appear that something has been forgotten.

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