Study helps identify neural circuit that helps prioritize visual cues over auditory signals

Philosophers at the University of Sussex have identified a neural circuit that helps prioritize visual cues over auditory signals.

The researchers wanted to study one of the most central aspects of the brain, namely, the visual and auditory systems. Because the spectral information is encoded using different awareness levels, the electrical current generated in the visual cortex is very dynamic and able to change very fast. Therefore, the researchers set up two prototypical three-dimensional brain networks with different activity patterns. They modeled the visual network of healthy volunteers and a cortical network associated with auditory perception, the auditory network of healthy volunteers.

One network was more sensitive to sound than the other, but more energetic network, researchers were able to differentiate single sounds more easily because it was more dynamic. This skill allowed the scientists to develop a model that showed different sounds and neural activity patterns based on the ability of the observer to differentiate different sounds, and when one network was more active than the other.