Ever wondered how our brain multi-tasks several things simultaneously? The answer to that question may lie in this news. A research from Yale claims that our energy-hungry brain may function consistently and capably while processing a deluge of sensory information, owing to a kind of neuronal thermostat that appears to control activity in the visual cortex.
The movements of inhibitory neurons seem to enable the brain to accumulate energy by repressing non-essential visual stimuli and dispensing only major information.
“It’s called the iceberg phenomenon, where only the tip is sharply defined yet we are aware that there is a much larger portion underwater that we can not see,” commented David McCormick, the Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, researcher of the Kavli Institute of Neuroscience and co-senior author of the research. “These inhibitory neurons set the water level and control how much of the iceberg we see. We don’t need to see the entire iceberg to know that it is there.”
The brain is said to apply the maximum percentage of the body’s energy, so researchers have apparently pondered for long as to how it could function both resourcefully and consistently when processing a flood of sensory information. Numerous researches of vision appeared to have focused on movement of excitatory neurons that shoot off when offered with plain stimuli, like vivid or dark bars. The Yale scientists supposedly wanted to gauge what takes place outside of the conventional turf of vision when the brain apparently has to cope with more difficult scenes in real life.
By examining brains of animals viewing movies of natural scenes, the Yale team is said to have discovered that inhibitory cells in the visual cortex could regulate how the excitatory cells may communicate with each other.
McCormick mentioned that they found that these inhibitory cells take a lead role in making the visual cortex operate in a sparse and reliable manner.
The research was published in the Journal Neuron.