Invisible Brain: Knowledge in Research Works and Neuron Activity.
ABSTRACT: If the market has an invisible hand, does knowledge creation and representation have an "invisible brain"? While knowledge is viewed as a product of neuron activity in the brain, can we identify knowledge that is outside the brain but reflects the activity of neurons in the brain? This work suggests that the patterns of neuron activity in the brain can be seen in the representation of knowledge-related activity. Here we show that the neuron activity mechanism seems to represent much of the knowledge learned in the past decades based on published articles, in what can be viewed as an "invisible brain" or collective hidden neural networks. Similar results appear when analyzing knowledge activity in patents. Our work also tries to characterize knowledge increase as neuron network activity growth. The results propose that knowledge-related activity can be seen outside of the neuron activity mechanism. Consequently, knowledge might exist as an independent mechanism.
Project description:Integrating objects with their context is a key step in interpreting complex visual scenes. Here, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while participants viewed visual scenes depicting a person performing an action with an object that was either congruent or incongruent with the scene. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed different activity for congruent vs. incongruent scenes in the lateral occipital complex, inferior temporal cortex, parahippocampal cortex, and prefrontal cortex. Importantly, and in contrast to previous studies, these activations could not be explained by task-induced conflict. A secondary goal of this study was to examine whether processing of object-context relations could occur in the absence of awareness. We found no evidence for brain activity differentiating between congruent and incongruent invisible masked scenes, which might reflect a genuine lack of activation, or stem from the limitations of our study. Overall, our results provide novel support for the roles of parahippocampal cortex and frontal areas in conscious processing of object-context relations, which cannot be explained by either low-level differences or task demands. Yet they further suggest that brain activity is decreased by visual masking to the point of becoming undetectable with our fMRI protocol.
Project description:Sensory neuroprostheses show great potential for alleviating major sensory deficits. It is not known, however, whether such devices can augment the subject's normal perceptual range. Here we show that adult rats can learn to perceive otherwise invisible infrared light through a neuroprosthesis that couples the output of a head-mounted infrared sensor to their somatosensory cortex (S1) via intracortical microstimulation. Rats readily learn to use this new information source, and generate active exploratory strategies to discriminate among infrared signals in their environment. S1 neurons in these infrared-perceiving rats respond to both whisker deflection and intracortical microstimulation, suggesting that the infrared representation does not displace the original tactile representation. Hence, sensory cortical prostheses, in addition to restoring normal neurological functions, may serve to expand natural perceptual capabilities in mammals.
Project description:The protein ?-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies, the neuron-associated aggregates seen in Parkinson disease and other neurodegenerative pathologies. An 11-residue segment, which we term NACore, appears to be responsible for amyloid formation and cytotoxicity of human ?-synuclein. Here we describe crystals of NACore that have dimensions smaller than the wavelength of visible light and thus are invisible by optical microscopy. As the crystals are thousands of times too small for structure determination by synchrotron X-ray diffraction, we use micro-electron diffraction to determine the structure at atomic resolution. The 1.4 Å resolution structure demonstrates that this method can determine previously unknown protein structures and here yields, to our knowledge, the highest resolution achieved by any cryo-electron microscopy method to date. The structure exhibits protofibrils built of pairs of face-to-face ?-sheets. X-ray fibre diffraction patterns show the similarity of NACore to toxic fibrils of full-length ?-synuclein. The NACore structure, together with that of a second segment, inspires a model for most of the ordered portion of the toxic, full-length ?-synuclein fibril, presenting opportunities for the design of inhibitors of ?-synuclein fibrils.
Project description:How does the brain construct a percept from sensory signals? One approach to this fundamental question is to investigate perceptual learning as induced by exposure to statistical regularities in sensory signals [1-7]. Recent studies showed that exposure to novel correlations between sensory signals can cause a signal to have new perceptual effects [2, 3]. In those studies, however, the signals were clearly visible. The automaticity of the learning was therefore difficult to determine. Here we investigate whether learning of this sort, which causes new effects on appearance, can be low level and automatic by employing a visual signal whose perceptual consequences were made invisible-a vertical disparity gradient masked by other depth cues. This approach excluded high-level influences such as attention or consciousness. Our stimulus for probing perceptual appearance was a rotating cylinder. During exposure, we introduced a new contingency between the invisible signal and the rotation direction of the cylinder. When subsequently presenting an ambiguously rotating version of the cylinder, we found that the invisible signal influenced the perceived rotation direction. This demonstrates that perception can rapidly undergo "structure learning" by automatically picking up novel contingencies between sensory signals, thus automatically recruiting signals for novel uses during the construction of a percept.
Project description:Visual neuroscience has long sought to determine the extent to which stimulus-evoked activity in visual cortex depends on attention and awareness. Some influential theories of consciousness maintain that the allocation of attention is restricted to conscious representations [1, 2]. However, in the load theory of attention , competition between task-relevant and task-irrelevant stimuli for limited-capacity attention does not depend on conscious perception of the irrelevant stimuli. The critical test is whether the level of attentional load in a relevant task would determine unconscious neural processing of invisible stimuli. Human participants were scanned with high-field fMRI while they performed a foveal task of low or high attentional load. Irrelevant, invisible monocular stimuli were simultaneously presented peripherally and were continuously suppressed by a flashing mask in the other eye . Attentional load in the foveal task strongly modulated retinotopic activity evoked in primary visual cortex (V1) by the invisible stimuli. Contrary to traditional views [1, 2, 5, 6], we found that availability of attentional capacity determines neural representations related to unconscious processing of continuously suppressed stimuli in human primary visual cortex. Spillover of attention to cortical representations of invisible stimuli (under low load) cannot be a sufficient condition for their awareness.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Veterans with "invisible injuries" (a mental health diagnosis or a traumatic brain injury) often pursue higher education to enhance employment and community reintegration, but frequently experience challenges to success. This mixed methods study examined how the educational experiences of Veterans with invisible injuries become intertwined with broader transitions between military and civilian life and the resulting implications for rehabilitation services. METHOD:Thirty-eight Veterans with mental illness or a traumatic brain injury who served in a post-9/11 conflict and attended a postsecondary institution within the past 60 months completed in-depth interviews and questionnaires. We used a constant comparative approach to analyze barriers and facilitators to educational functioning and community reintegration. RESULTS:Managing school-specific challenges, coping with mental and physical health problems, forming a new sense of self, and forging new career pathways were major factors influencing education experiences and reintegration. Participants discussed the challenges of balancing these processes while progressing toward an academic degree, which often resulted in a longer, nonlinear educational pathway. While some participants attempted to "compartmentalize" educational goals, separate from health and family concerns, these aims were inevitably interlaced. In addition, multiple and longer military deployments tended to lengthen the time to degree completion. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:Many Veterans with invisible injuries face complex challenges stemming from military experiences, the family dynamics to which they return, and reintegration issues that demand novel forms of resilience. Collaboration between university staff and health practitioners may be important in enhancing support for student Veterans coping with invisible disabilities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:Information integration across the senses is fundamental for effective interactions with our environment. The extent to which signals from different senses can interact in the absence of awareness is controversial. Combining the spatial ventriloquist illusion and dynamic continuous flash suppression (dCFS), we investigated in a series of two experiments whether visual signals that observers do not consciously perceive can influence spatial perception of sounds. Importantly, dCFS obliterated visual awareness only on a fraction of trials allowing us to compare spatial ventriloquism for physically identical flashes that were judged as visible or invisible. Our results show a stronger ventriloquist effect for visible than invisible flashes. Critically, a robust ventriloquist effect emerged also for invisible flashes even when participants were at chance when locating the flash. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that signals that we are not aware of in one sensory modality can alter spatial perception of signals in another sensory modality.
Project description:Studying the way athletes predict actions of their peers during fast-ball sports, such as a tennis, has proved to be a valuable tool for increasing our knowledge of intention understanding. The working model in this area is that the anticipatory representations of others' behaviors require internal predictive models of actions formed from pre-established and shared representations between the observer and the actor. This model also predicts that observers would not be able to read accurately the intentions of a competitor if the competitor were to perform the action without prior knowledge of their intention until moments before the action. To test this hypothesis, we recorded brain activity from 25 male tennis players while they performed a novel behavioral tennis intention inference task, which included two conditions: (i) one condition in which they viewed video clips of a tennis athlete who knew in advance where he was about to act/serve (initially intended serves) and (ii) one condition in which they viewed video clips of that same athlete when he did not know where he was to act/serve until the target was specified after he had tossed the ball into the air to complete his serve (non-initially intended serves). Our results demonstrated that (i) tennis expertise is related to the accuracy in predicting where another server intends to serve when that server knows where he intends to serve before (but not after) he tosses the ball in the air; and (ii) accurate predictions are characterized by the recruitment of both cortical areas within the human mirror neuron system (that is known to be involved in higher-order (top-down) processes of embodied cognition and shared representation) and subcortical areas within brain regions involved in procedural memory (caudate nucleus). Interestingly, inaccurate predictions instead recruit areas known to be involved in low-level (bottom-up) computational processes associated with the sense of agency and self-other distinction.
Project description:Subwavelength-scale metal and dielectric nanostructures have served as important building blocks for electromagnetic metamaterials, providing unprecedented opportunities for manipulating the optical response of the matter. Recently, hyperbolic metamaterials have been drawing particular interest because of their unusual optical properties and functionalities, such as negative refraction and hyperlensing of light. Here, as a promising application of a hyperbolic metamaterial at visible frequency, we propose an invisible nanotube that consists of metal and dielectric alternating thin layers. The theoretical study of the light scattering of the layered nanotube reveals that almost-zero scattering can be achieved at a specific wavelength when the transverse-electric- or transverse-magnetic-polarized light is incident to the nanotube. In addition, the layered nanotube can be described as a radial-anisotropic hyperbolic metamaterial nanotube. The low scattering occurs when the effective permittivity of the hyperbolic nanotube in the angular direction is near zero, and thus the invisibility of the layered nanotube can be efficiently obtained by analyzing the equivalent hyperbolic nanotube. Our new method to design and tune an invisible nanostructure represents a significant step toward the practical implementation of unique nanophotonic devices such as invisible photodetectors and low-scattering near-field optical microscopes.
Project description:What is it like to be invisible? This question has long fascinated man and has been the central theme of many classic literary works. Recent advances in materials science suggest that invisibility cloaking of the human body may be possible in the not-so-distant future. However, it remains unknown how invisibility affects body perception and embodied cognition. To address these questions, we developed a perceptual illusion of having an entire invisible body. Through a series of experiments, we characterized the multisensory rules that govern the elicitation of the illusion and show that the experience of having an invisible body reduces the social anxiety response to standing in front of an audience. This study provides an experimental model of what it is like to be invisible and shows that this experience affects bodily self-perception and social cognition.