Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

No logical thinking required: causality judgments can be „felt“

11.01.2013
We often make causality judgments when we perceive successive visual events, such as “the glass was knocked over by the hand“.

A research team led by Martin Rolfs at the Bernstein Center and Humboldt University Berlin, has now revealed that these judgments arise from fundamental visual processes – without involving higher cognitive reasoning. They showed that, with prolonged viewing of causal events, an adaptation process takes place that resembles those observed in the perception of size, color, or motion of an object. The result ends a long-standing debate about the level at which higher-order properties of visual events are computed.

The hand hits a glass, it falls over, and the milk spills over the kitchen table. The observer is immediately sure that it was the clumsy hand that caused this little mishap. Until now, researchers have disagreed whether this causality judgment depends on higher brain functions such as cognitive reasoning, or whether it emerges at an earlier stage during perception, similar to the evaluation of size, color, or motion of an object. An international team of researchers including Martin Rolfs at the Bernstein Center Berlin, Michael Dambacher at the University of Konstanz, and professor Patrick Cavanagh at the University Paris Descartes has now found the answer to this question: Rapid causality judgments are made at the level of visual perception.

In their study, participants watched a repeating video clip in which one disc moved towards another, and the latter disc started to move after being touched by the first. Instead of seeing one disc stopping and the next disc starting to move, both events are seen as one continuous action where the first disc launches the second – similar to colliding billiard balls. Rolfs and his colleagues have now demonstrated that after the repeated observation of these collision scenes, an adaption process occurs: Subsequent interactions involving two discs are less likely to be seen as causal. Similar adaptation aftereffects are known after the repeated perception of basic properties such as color: After looking at an orange light for a short while, you will see a light blue spot when looking at a white wall. These visual aftereffects suggest a habituation of the populations of neurons in those parts of the brain that analyze these specific qualities.

The main result of the study: The adaptation to collision events was specific to the location where the collisions had been seen. Moreover, when the eyes moved, these adapted locations moved with the eyes, just as the color afterimage shifts as you move the eyes around. According to the researchers, these results show that the neuronal structures involved in the judgment of causality must be part of the early visual process as higher level cognitive processes do not show this specificity to eye position. Main investigator Rolfs: “The result moves functions that have previously been thought of as achievements of cognitive deduction into the realm of basic perception, with implications for fields as diverse as philosophy, psychology, and robotics.”

The Bernstein Center Berlin is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience in Germany. With this funding initiative, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the new discipline of Computational Neuroscience since 2004 with over 170 Mio. €. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835-1017).

Contact:
Dr. Martin Rolfs
Bernstein Zentrum Berlin und
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Philippstr. 13, Haus 6
10115 Berlin
eMail: martin.rolfs@bccn-berlin.de
Tel: +49 (0)30 2093-6775
Original publication:
Rolfs, M., Dambacher, M., Cavanagh, P. (2013): „Visual adaption of the perception of causality“. Current Biology: Jan 10, 2013.
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2812%2901490-X
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.12.017

Mareike Kardinal | idw
Further information:
http://www.bccn-berlin.de/
http://www.hu-berlin.de/
http://www.nncn.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Chemists create new route to PHAs: naturally degradable bioplastics
21.11.2019 | Colorado State University

nachricht Scientists first to develop rapid cell division in marine sponges
21.11.2019 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neuartiges Antibiotikum gegen Problemkeime in Sicht

Internationales Forscherteam mit Beteiligung der Universität Gießen entdeckt neuen Wirkstoff gegen gramnegative Bakterien – Darobactin attackiert die Erreger an einem bislang unbekannten Wirkort

Immer mehr bakterielle Erreger von Infektionskrankheiten entwickeln Resistenzen gegen die marktüblichen Antibiotika. Typische Krankenhauskeime wie Escherichia...

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

Im Focus: Kleine Teilchen, große Wirkung: Wie Nanoteilchen aus Graphen die Auflösung von Mikroskopen verbessern

Konventionelle Lichtmikroskope können Strukturen nicht mehr abbilden, wenn diese einen Abstand haben, der kleiner als etwa die Lichtwellenlänge ist. Mit „Super-resolution Microscopy“, entwickelt seit den 80er Jahren, kann man diese Einschränkung jedoch umgehen, indem fluoreszierende Materialien eingesetzt werden. Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler am Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung haben nun entdeckt, dass aus Graphen bestehende Nano-Moleküle genutzt werden können, um diese Mikroskopie-Technik zu verbessern. Diese Nano-Moleküle bieten eine Reihe essentieller Vorteile gegenüber den bisher verwendeten Materialien, die die Mikroskopie-Technik noch vielfältiger einsetzbar machen.

Mikroskopie ist eine wichtige Untersuchungsmethode in der Physik, Biologie, Medizin und vielen anderen Wissenschaften. Sie hat jedoch einen Nachteil: Ihre...

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

Im Focus: Mit künstlicher Intelligenz zum besseren Holzprodukt

Der Empa-Wissenschaftler Mark Schubert und sein Team nutzen die vielfältigen Möglichkeiten des maschinellen Lernens für holztechnische Anwendungen. Zusammen mit Swiss Wood Solutions entwickelt Schubert eine digitale Holzauswahl- und Verarbeitungsstrategie unter Verwendung künstlicher Intelligenz.

Holz ist ein Naturprodukt und ein Leichtbauwerkstoff mit exzellenten physikalischen Eigenschaften und daher ein ausgezeichnetes Konstruktionsmaterial – etwa...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2020: „Mach es einfach!“

18.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

Humanoide Roboter in Aktion erleben

18.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

1. Internationale Konferenz zu Agrophotovoltaik im August 2020

15.11.2019 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Sichere Datenübertragung mit Ultraschall am Handy: neue Methode zur Nahfeldkommunikation

21.11.2019 | Kommunikation Medien

Rasante Entstehung von Antibiotikaresistenzen im Behandlungsalltag

21.11.2019 | Medizin Gesundheit

Gesundheits-App als Fitness-Coach für Familien

21.11.2019 | Kommunikation Medien

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics