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A study carried out by researchers at the University of Glasgow may have come to quite an interesting conclusion. Could our brains be able to predict the future?

This study was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports and brought is a much deeper understanding of how our brain and eyes work with one another. This research was led by professor Lars Muckli and for this research, these neuroscientists used fMRI as well as a visual illusion to show how the brain anticipates the information it will see when the eyes move next. You see, we move our eyes about 4 times per second this leaving our brain to process all of this new visual information every 250 milliseconds.

A release by the University of Glasgow explains this as follows:

If you were to move your video camera so frequently, the film would appear jumpy. The reason we still perceive the world as stable is because our brains think ahead. In other words, the brain predicts what it is going to see after you have moved your eyes. The study also reveals the potential for fMRI to contribute to this area of neuroscience research, as the authors are able to detect a difference in processing of only 32ms, much faster than is typically thought possible with fMRI.

You see, our brains think ahead of our sight. They guess what it is they are about to process and then it is processed. Muckli says that “this study is important because it demonstrates how fMRI can contribute to this area of neuroscience research. Further to that, finding a feasible mechanism for brain function will contribute to brain-inspired computing and artificial intelligence, as well as aid our investigation into mental disorders”.

This study was titled “Predictive Feedback to V1 Dynamically Updated with Sensory Input.” It was funded by the Biotechnology and Biology Sciences Research Council and a Human Brain Project Grant. It is quite interesting to learn things like this. You see, visual information is, of course, received from the eyes but our brain has to work faster than our eyes do. Scientist Dr. Gracie Edwards says that the feedback information we get from our brain can and does influence our perception of the feedforward input (visual information processed by the brain) based on our memories and things of similar perceptual events.

What do you think about all of this? I for one find it to be quite fascinating.

Image via Neon Nettle