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Vision also involves hearing, claims researchers

A new study has found that visual cortex makes use of information gleaned from the ears as well as the eyes when we view the world.

Professor Lars Muckli, of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, who led the research, said visual imagery, mental images, and automatic projections are created by sound.

For the study, the researchers conducted five different experiments using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( fMRI). Their aim was to examine the activity in the early visual cortex in 10 volunteer subjects.

In one experiment, the volunteers were blindfolded and they were asked to listen to three different natural sounds - birdsong, traffic noise and a talking crowd.

The researchers then used a special algorithm that can identify unique patterns in brain activity and succeeded in discriminating between the different sounds being processed in early visual cortex activity.

The second experiment also revealed even imagined images, this time in the absence of both sight and sound. Muckli said that the findings of the study highlight the interconnection between different regions of the brain.

The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.