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Brain's reaction to things we see is 'hard-wired': Study

A new research has found that the ability of our brain to instantly link what we see with what we do is due to the presence of a dedicated information 'highway'.

The study conducted by experts from University College London and Cambridge University have managed to find a specialised mechanism for spatial self-awareness that is a combines visual cues with body motion. The scientists said that standard visual processing is prone to distractions because in that we remain attentive to objects of interest and not want to register other objects.

The new study found that our brains have separate 'hard-wired' systems to track our own bodies visually even if we do not want to pay attention to them. The researchers claimed that the network which they have found triggers reactions even before the conscious brain processes them.

A total of 52 healthy adults were tested by the researchers in a series of three experiments. In all experiments, robotic arms were used by the researchers to control cursors on two-dimensional displays. The motion of the cursor was directly linked to hand movement.

The eyes of the participants were kept fixed on a mark at the centre of the screen with eye tracking facility. In the first experiment, participants were asked to control two separate cursors with their left and right hands, both equally close to the centre.

"The first experiment showed us that we react very quickly to changes relating to objects directly under our own control, even when we are not paying attention to them," said Dr Alexandra Reichenbach of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, lead author of the study.