Our Brains Change What We See

A study at UC San Diego says learning impacts how the brain processes what we see.

From taste to smell to past experience, our vision is influenced by perception.

A cognitive process known as top-down control changes the way we interact with the world based on prior knowledge and expectations.

An example of top-down control is being able to read a word with missing letters based on past experiences.

The research study at the UC San Diego School of Medicine was led by Takaki Komiyama, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences and neurobiology.

The researchers found in lab tests when a mouse assigned a new meaning to a neutral stimulus top-down control became much more influential in activating the visual cortex.

The study, published in the online journal Nature Neuroscience, has broader implications on health research.

"In addition to revealing circuit mechanisms underlying these learning-related changes, our findings may have implications in understanding the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, that generate abnormal perception," said Hiroshi Makino, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in Komiyama's lab in a written release.

Contact Us