Scientists use morphed images of celebrity faces to reveal how neurons work in brain

Posted by egg3 at Oct 06, 2014 10:27 AM |
Study reveals individual neurons in the human brain are triggered by the subject's conscious perception, rather than by the visual stimulus
Scientists use morphed images of celebrity faces to reveal how neurons work in brain

A morphed image used in the study - who do you see?

An international team of scientists, involving Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience and Head of Bioengineering at the University of Leicester, has shown how individual neurons in the human brain react to ambiguous morphed faces.

For this, the researchers used images of celebrities morphed together to create an ambiguous face which test subjects were asked to identify.

The study found that for the same ambiguous images, the neurons fired according to the subjective perception by the subjects rather than the visual stimulus. For example, a neuron originally firing to Whoopi Goldberg fired to a morph image between Goldberg and Bob Marley only when the subject identified the morphed image as Goldberg and remained silent when the subject said the very same image was Marley.

They concluded that neurons fire in line with conscious recognition of images rather than the actual images seen. Furthermore, in most cases the neuron’s responses to morphed pictures were the same as when shown the pictures without morphing.

Their new paper, ‘Single-Cell Responses to Face Adaptation in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe’, has now been published in Neuron.

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