Past knowledge Affect What We See
Prior knowledge impacts how the brain processes what we see, says a new study. From the smell of flowers to the taste of wine, our perception is strongly influenced by prior knowledge and expectations, a cognitive process known as 'top-down control'. The study appears online in Nature Neuroscience.
The new study in mouse models found that the brain significantly changed its visual cortex operation modes by implementing top-down processes during learning.
First author Hiroshi Makino, postdoctoral researcher at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said, "We found that when the mouse assigns a new meaning to a previously neutral visual stimulus, top-down control becomes much more influential in activating the visual cortex. Top-down inputs interact with specific neuron types in the visual cortex to modulate its operation modes."
Makino further added, "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."