Brown University released a study this week that detailed how the brain develops as it experiences two or more sensory inputs.
Researchers at Brown found that the judgment of different sensory inputs needs to develop in the brains of animals. By electrically stimulating different areas of tadpole brains, researchers tracked this process.
Researchers found that sensory integration neurons would remain excited between each stimuli in younger tadpoles. As the subjects matured, these neurons would end initial excitement as new stimuli came. This information, combined with future studies, could shed light on certain conditions that emerge as sensory integration can become abnormal. This can include some disorders on the autism spectrum as other studies indicate that the difficulty of merging audio and visual stimuli can have adverse effects on language development.
“People have tried to distill how the brain detects this temporal coincidence,” Aizenman said. “We created a preparation where we could study how the different inputs are combined in a single cell and what types of brain circuits are involved.”
This study was published in Life. The authors included Brown professor of neuroscience Carlos Aizenman, Daniel Felch and Bard College researcher Arseny Khakhalin.