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: Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

8 hours ago

Weather forecasters and emergency officials warned Sunday that melting snow would lead to heavy flooding in parts of the US northeast, with hundreds of thousands of people told to brace for fast-rising waters.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

15 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How ...

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

16 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

Recommended for you

Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

1 hour ago

The skeleton of an Ice Age woolly mammoth fetched £189,000 ($300,000, 239.000 euros) at auction Wednesday as it went under the hammer in Britain with a host of other rare or extinct species.

Passengers boarding airplanes—we're doing it wrong

7 hours ago

'Tis the season for airplane travel. We may be looking forward to getting where we're going, but most aspects of the travel itself are merely endured. There's stressful security, the madding crowd and the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.