As the brain extracts meaning from vision, believing really is seeing

on 20 July 2018
seeing may actually be believing

Scientists, don't you just love em, have proved that you really can judge a banana by its skin and we use that same rationale to make a whole lot of other judgments . . . 

Hypnosis, try before you decide!

During my free consultation, I demonstrate hypnosis to each prospective client, subject to their consent of course! The object is to provide them with an empirical experience of that amazing phenomenon as well as being in a better position to understand how they experience it. I have two specific types of therapy which I use in hypnosis, 1) Trans4mational Therapy (90 minutes) and 2) Rapid session Therapy (60 minutes). The rapid version is specifically for people who are highly susceptible to hypnosis and the Trans4mational Therapy for everyone else. However, the one modality that always seems to enhance any individual client's experience, is "vision." Simply because there are more areas related to vision than any other sense. This in no way implies that other clients cannot get the same benefits, merely that they get there, on average, more quickly.

To understand this in more depth, we can look at dreaming. Most of us, at some point, will have had a nightmare or some magical and mystical dream, during which we would be aware of a heightened emotional presence and have all the emotional attributes that go with it. For example, during a dream of falling, we can feel the absence of gravity, the presence of fear, a racing heart and feel hot and sweaty etc. However, the reality is that we are safe and sound on our beds. Through an internal,dream-driven experience, we can have the awareness of a terrifying fear experience of a total fantasy!

Through hypnosis, and its ability to stimulate the same brain processes of dreaming, we can stimulate emotional, physical and mental changes, that help a client achieve what they want; assuming they are clear on what that is?

My objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually not be happening! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

Here's the neuroscience of a neglected banana (and a lot of other things in daily life): whenever you look at its colour -- green in the store, then yellow, and eventually brown on your countertop -- your mind categorizes it as unripe, ripe, and then spoiled. A new study that tracked how the brain turns simple sensory inputs, such as "green," into meaningful categories, such as "unripe," shows that the information follows a progression through many regions of the cortex, and not exactly in the way many neuroscientists would predict.

The study led by researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory undermines the classic belief that separate cortical regions play distinct roles. Instead, as animals in the lab refined what they saw down to a specific understanding relevant to behaviour, brain cells in each of six cortical regions operated along a continuum between sensory processing and categorization. To be sure, general patterns were evident for each region, but activity associated with categorization was shared surprisingly widely, said the authors of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The cortex is not modular," said Earl Miller, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. "Different parts of the cortex emphasize different things and do different types of processing, but it is more of a matter of emphasis. It's a blend and a transition from one to the other. This extends up to higher cognition."

The study not only refines neuroscientists' understanding of a core capability of cognition, but it also could inform psychiatrist's understanding of disorders in which categorization judgements are atypical, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders, but the authors also said.

Scott Brincat, a research scientist in Miller's Picower lab, and Markus Siegel, principal investigator at the University of Tübingen in Germany, are the study's co-lead authors. Tübingen postdoc Constantin von Nicolai is a co-author.

From seeing to judging: In the research, animals played a simple game. They were presented with shapes that cued them to judge what came next -- either a red or green colour, or dots moving in an upward or downward direction. Based on the initial shape cue, the animals learned to glance left to indicate green or upward motion, or right to indicate red or downward.

Meanwhile, the researchers were eavesdropping on the activity of hundreds of neurons in six regions across the cortex: prefrontal (PFC), posterior inferotemporal (PIT), lateral intraparietal (LIP), frontal eye fields (FEF), and visual areas MT and V4. The team analyzed the data, tracking each neuron's activity over the course of the game to determine how much it participated in sensory vs. categorical work, accounting for the possibility that many neurons might well do at least a little of both. First, they refined their analysis in a computer simulation, and then applied it to the actual neural data.

They found that while sensory processing was largely occurring where classic neuroscience would predict, most heavily in the MT and V4, categorization was surprisingly distributed. As expected the PFC led the way, but FEF, LIP and PIT often showed substantial categorization activity, too.

"Our findings suggest that, although brain regions are certainly specialized, they share a lot of information and functional similarities," Siegel said. "Thus, our results suggest the brain should be thought of as a highly connected network of talkative related nodes, rather than as a set of highly specialized modules that only sparsely hand-off information to each other."

The patterns of relative sensory and categorization activity varied by task, too. Few neuroscientists would be surprised that V4 cells were particularly active for colour sensation while MT cells were active for sensing motion, but perhaps more interestingly, category signals were more widespread. For example, most of the areas were involved in categorizing colour, including those traditional thoughts to be specialized for motion.

The scientists also noted another key pattern. In their analysis they could discern the dimensionality of the information the neurons were processing, and found that sensory information processing was highly multi-dimensional (i.e. as if considering many different details of the visual input), while categorization activity involved much greater focus (i.e. as if just judging "upward" or "downward").

Cognition in the cortex: The broad distribution of activity related to categorization, Miller speculated, might be a sign that when the brain has a goal (in this case to categorize), that needs to be represented broadly, even if the PFC might be where the judgement is made. It's a bit like in a business where everyone from the CEO down to workers on the manufacturing floor benefits from understanding the point of the enterprise in doing their work.

Miller also said the study extends some prior results from his lab. In a previous study, he showed that PFC neurons were able to conduct highly multidimensional information processing, while in this study they were largely focused on just one dimension. The synthesis of the two lines of evidence may be that PFC neurons are able to accommodate whatever degree of dimensionality pursuing a goal requires. They are versatile in how versatile they should be.

Let all this sink in, the next time you consider the ripeness of a banana or any other time you have to extract meaning from something you perceive.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant 5R37MH087027, European Research Council (StG335880), and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (DeutscheForschungsgemeinschaft Grant EXC 307).


Story Source:

Materials provided by Picower Institute at MITNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Scott L. Brincat, Markus Siegel, Constantin von Nicolai, Earl K. Miller. The gradual progression from sensory to task-related processing in the cerebral cortexProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201717075 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717075115