How the brain distinguishes between objects

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 10:30 in Psychology & Sociology

As visual information flows into the brain through the retina, the visual cortex transforms the sensory input into coherent perceptions. Neuroscientists have long hypothesized that a part of the visual cortex called the inferotemporal (IT) cortex is necessary for the key task of recognizing individual objects, but the evidence has been inconclusive. In a new study, MIT neuroscientists have found clear evidence that the IT cortex is indeed required for object recognition; they also found that subsets of this region are responsible for distinguishing different objects. In addition, the researchers have developed computational models that describe how these neurons transform visual input into a mental representation of an object. They hope such models will eventually help guide the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that could be used for applications such as generating images in the mind of a blind person. “We don’t know if that will be possible yet, but this is a...

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