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Further insight into the workings of our brain


Narrator: This is Science Today. Just how do our brains organize everything that we see? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the brain is wired to put in order all the categories of objects and actions that we see. Alexander Huth, a doctoral student in neuroscience, led the study.

Huth: We put five human subjects in an MRI machine and recorded their brain activity while we showed them two hours of movie trailers where we've labeled all the objects and actions that appeared during each second of the movies. Functional MRI measures blood flow in little rectangular areas called voxels and it takes about thirty thousand of them to cover the entire cortex.

Narrator: By determining how each category of objects and actions affected the blood flow in each voxel, the researchers created computational models of the brain imaging data and produced the first interactive map of this process.

Huth: We've made an online viewer where you can see the flattened and 3-D brain maps. You can click on each voxel to see exactly which categories it represents, you can click on each category to see exactly how it's represented across the cortex.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.