Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Imagination and Reality Look Different in the Brain

 

"Turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream..."

Maybe John Lennon was onto something when he wrote those words for the Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows."

It turns out that that reality and imagination flow in different directions in the brain, researchers say. The visual information from real events that the eyes see flows "up" from the brain's occipital lobe to the parietal lobe, but imagined images flow "down" from the parietal to the occipital. 

"There seems to be a lot in our brains and animal brains that is directional — that neural signals move in a particular direction, then stop, and start somewhere else," said Dr. Giulio Tononi, a psychiatry professor and neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and one of the study's co-authors. "I think this is really a new theme that had not been explored."

The finding, published in the November issue of the journal NeuroImage, may lead to a better understanding of how the brain processes short-term memories and how memory is connected to imagination, the researchers said.

For the rest of the story: http://www.livescience.com/49244-imagination-reality-brain-flow-direction.html

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