7 Apr 2010

Direct recording shows brain signal active even in dreamless sleep

Neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have taken one of the first direct looks at one of the human brain's most fundamental "foundations": a brain signal that never switches off and may support many cognitive functions. The results, appearing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are an important step forward for efforts to outline what neuroscientists call the functional architecture of the brain. Better understanding of this architecture will aid efforts to treat brain injury and mental disorders.

6 Apr 2010

Are Vision and Consciousness Intimately Related?

In my article on brain waves and consciousness I looked at some research associating gamma wave activity with consciousness. This is, however, a controversial area in that other researchers have found that such gamma activity is also correlated with eye movements known as saccades: these are the small eye movements that the brain edits out so that we do not perceive the world as a blur as we switch focus. So, are brain gamma waves merely a byproduct of saccadic movements or are they correlated with consciousness or, potentially, both?

You can follow the relevant articles and the subsequent discussions at Neuron. Also an article Developing Intelligence blog.

Are Vision and Consciousness Intimately Related?

Image: Phosphene artistic depiction (detail) from Wikimedia.
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