Permalink to New clues about ‘travelling brain waves’

New clues about ‘travelling brain waves’

Next time you can’t find the car keys sitting right in front of you, try blaming your “travelling brain waves”. Scientists in North America believe these neural signals exist in the visual system of the awake brain and are organised to allow the brain to perceive objects that are faint or just difficult to see – or not. “We’ve discovered that faint objects are much more likely to be seen if visualising the object is timed with the travelling brain waves,” says John Reynolds from the Salk Institute, US, senior author of the team’s paper in Nature. “The waves actually facilitate perceptual sensitivity, so there are moments in time when you can see things that you otherwise could not. It turns out that these travelling brain waves are an information-gathering process leading to the perception of an object.” The waves have been studied during anaesthesia, Reynolds says, but dismissed as an artifact of it. To investigate whether they also exist in the brain when awake, he and colleagues…