We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Brain navigation can occur without external cues
News

Brain navigation can occur without external cues

Brain navigation can occur without external cues
News

Brain navigation can occur without external cues

Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Brain navigation can occur without external cues"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

A discovery at Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) has identified how little information the brain needs in order to navigate and accurately estimate location.


QBI research has led to the development of a startling theory that animal brains can use a memory map to determine locations without external cues such as sight, smell, touch and sound.


Dr Allen Cheung said that until now is has been incorrectly assumed that external input is needed for navigation within any environment.


“For example, if you are starting at a point of complete disorientation – by navigating with no sight, touch, smell or sound cues – the brain draw on a previously-learned map and quite accurately estimate its location purely by self-motion cues such as walking,” he said.


This ability applies specifically to a particular shape of arena, which has one-fold rotational symmetry such as a classic kite or egg shape, all the brain needs to do is to compare its best orientation guess with a ‘mind map’ of the environment.


Dr Cheung said the motivation for doing the research was to understand how brains compute information.


“There are a lot of possibilities that arise from this research, but the parts of the brain believed to carry out these computations, as found by the recent Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, are significantly affected by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


“These findings can now be tested in animals and humans to understand spatial computations, and we will be able to prove that both can develop and use a map built from self-motion cues.


“This work is important to highlight the plasticity of the brain, and its ability to gather a lot of information with very little input.”


Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

The University of Queensland - Australia   press release


Publication

Allen Cheung. Estimating Location without External Cues.   PLoS Computational Biology, Published October 30 2014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003927


Advertisement