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 Sensory Perception Is Not a One-Way Street
17.10.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Sex or food? Decision-making in single-cell organisms
17.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Auf Wiedersehen, Silizium? Auf dem Weg zu neuen Materalien für die Elektronik

Wissenschaftler des Max-Planck-Instituts für Polymerforschung (MPI-P) in Mainz haben zusammen mit Wissenschaftlern aus Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgarien) und Madrid (Spanien) ein neues, metall-organisches Material entwickelt, welches ähnliche Eigenschaften wie kristallines Silizium aufweist. Das mit einfachen Mitteln bei Raumtemperatur herstellbare Material könnte in Zukunft als Ersatz für konventionelle nicht-organische Materialien dienen, die in der Optoelektronik genutzt werden.

Bei der Herstellung von elektronischen Komponenten wie Solarzellen, LEDs oder Computerchips wird heutzutage vorrangig Silizium eingesetzt. Für diese...

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Blauer Phosphor – jetzt erstmals vermessen und kartiert

Die Existenz von „Blauem“ Phosphor war bis vor kurzem reine Theorie: Nun konnte ein HZB-Team erstmals Proben aus blauem Phosphor an BESSY II untersuchen und über ihre elektronische Bandstruktur bestätigen, dass es sich dabei tatsächlich um diese exotische Phosphor-Modifikation handelt. Blauer Phosphor ist ein interessanter Kandidat für neue optoelektronische Bauelemente.

Das Element Phosphor tritt in vielerlei Gestalt auf und wechselt mit jeder neuen Modifikation auch den Katalog seiner Eigenschaften. Bisher bekannt waren...

Im Focus: Chemiker der Universitäten Rostock und Yale zeigen erstmals Dreierkette aus gleichgeladenen Ionen

Die Forschungskooperation zwischen der Universität Yale und der Universität Rostock hat neue wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse hervorgebracht. In der renommierten Zeitschrift „Angewandte Chemie“ berichten die Wissenschaftler über eine Dreierkette aus Ionen gleicher Ladung, die durch sogenannte Wasserstoffbrücken zusammengehalten werden. Damit zeigen die Forscher zum ersten Mal eine Dreierkette aus gleichgeladenen Ionen, die sich im Grunde abstoßen.

Die erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit zwischen den Professoren Mark Johnson, einem weltbekannten Cluster-Forscher, und Ralf Ludwig aus der Physikalischen Chemie der...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

11. Jenaer Lasertagung

16.10.2018 | Veranstaltungen

DFG unterstützt Kongresse und Tagungen - Dezember 2018

16.10.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Künstliche Intelligenz in der Medizin

16.10.2018 | Veranstaltungen

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

Sinneswahrnehmung ist keine Einbahnstraße

17.10.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Space Farming dank Pflanzenhormon Strigolacton

17.10.2018 | Agrar- Forstwissenschaften

Oberflächen mit flexiblen und handlichen Plasmaquellen aktivieren

17.10.2018 | Physik Astronomie

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