Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eyes and Ears and Mouth and Nose

   I greatly enjoyed reading about the cross-sensory brain plasticity is described along with the benefits of this flexibility occurring. One experiment demonstrating this remarkable ability in creatures was conducted on a baby ferret. Researchers illustrated that by connecting the eyes of the ferret to the auditory brain would make that area respond to visual input. In addition to that, when they connect the ferrets ears to it visual region of the brain, it elicits auditory responses in that area. Through these studies we are able to see that whether the animals experienced a stimulus as light or sound was dependant on whether their ears or eyes were the ones being stimulated, not which brain region reacted.

       The findings of this experiment demonstrate a possibility that our perceptual brains are designed around this mutisensory input.  This is pretty awesome. If this is accurate that that would mean that there are not in fact sensory specific brain regions in the brain, each delegated to its own sense. But rather, it would mean that the senses are constantly communicating with one another in order to react to a stimulus. Instead of seeing your dog with one section of your brain and hearing him bark with another section, there is actually constant integration between the two.  This is pretty new to the scientific community, as the sensory specific brain theories were believed up until about 10 years ago.  This just goes to show us that we will continue to get closer to understanding the complexity that is our brain.  

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