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: Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Explainer: What is big data?

Jan 27, 2014

Big Data, as the name implies, relates to very large sets of data collected through free or commercial services on the internet.

Worker wasps grow visual brains, queens stay in the dark

Jan 06, 2014

A queen in a paperwasp colony largely stays in the dark. The worker wasps, who fly outside to seek food and building materials, see much more of the world around them. A new study indicates that the brain ...

'Balancing' the one-year mission risks

Sep 30, 2013

If you've ever stumbled out of bed in the middle of the night, fallen out of a yoga pose or had trouble "finding your legs" after hopping off a rollercoaster or a boat, then you know getting your balance ...

Recommended for you

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

3 hours ago

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Apr 19, 2014

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Poll: Big Bang a big question for most Americans

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.