Study watches the brain 'shutting off'

Apr 19, 2006

Israeli scientists say they have observed the human brain in the act of losing "self" as it shuts down introspection during a demanding sensory task.

The researchers -- led by Rafael Malach and Ilan Goldberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science -- say their findings show self-related function stops during such intense sensory tasks. Thus, an "observer" function in the brain does not appear to play an active part in the production of our vivid sensory experiences.

The findings contradict common models of sensory experience that assume there is some kind of "homunculus," or observer, function in the brain that "looks at" sensory brain areas. The finding, they say, has significance for understanding the basic nature of consciousness and perception.

The research is detailed in the April 20 issue of the journal Neuron.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists seen as competent but not trusted by Americans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New technologies are improving the lives of seniors

Aug 14, 2014

If Betty Lewis falls at the Edgemere senior living community, a pendant she wears around her neck will alert the staff. The device picks up the motion of the fall and notifies staff members at the North Dallas facility so ...

Recommended for you

Q&A: Science journalism and public engagement

6 hours ago

Whether the public is reading about the Ebola outbreak in Africa or watching YouTube videos on the benefits of the latest diet, it's clear that reporting on science and technology profoundly shapes modern ...

User comments : 0