How the brain sees the world

The findings may yield clues about what consciousness is and where it occurs in the brain


NSFW    HANNOVER / NEW HAMPSHIRE — Researchers say that the visual world humans perceive is produced by parts of the brain lying outside of the visual cortex, according to a new study published in Current Biology.

Dartmouth College says that the findings have significant implications for the debate about what human consciousness is and where it occurs in the brain, in a press release dated to December 13.

The study used MRI technology to scan test subjects who observed a screen displaying a visual illusion created by the so-called Gabor patch.

As the patch moves in one direction, the flickering shape tricks the brain into seeing that it is moving in a perceived path that is different from its actual path.

According to the study, the brain scans then allowed researchers to identify the visual cortex as the area of the brain that senses the patch’s actual physical path.

Further, the scans showed that seeing the illusion directly corresponds to activity in the frontal lobes. This suggests that the frontal lobes also process visual information.

According to co-author Patrick Cavanagh, the study establishes that the frontal lobes are not only responsible for decision making and thinking, but also provides the end step for perceiving where objects are.
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