Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Seeing Shapes
04 February 2018

Seeing Shapes

You see the cake and then you reach for it. Previous research suggests these actions involve visual signals taking two different routes in your brain: the ventral pathway for perception, figuring out the shape of the cake, and the dorsal pathway to enable action, figuring out where the cake is. Researchers now look more closely at these pathways. As volunteers in a brain scanner looked at images of intact or distorted objects, brain activity in their dorsal (left) and ventral (right) regions was mapped. More activity (warmer colours) when looking at intact, rather than distorted, objects, suggested regions involved in detecting shape – and this was found in both ventral and dorsal pathways. What's more, this activity matched the ability of volunteers to recognise objects. This has greater implications than how we grab some cake. It may help untangle why people with a condition called agnosia struggle to recognise objects.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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