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Contact: Kat Snodgrass
ksnodgrass@sfn.org
Society for Neuroscience

Virtual reality helps researchers track how brain responds to surroundings

Video game-based technologies allow new insight into memory, perception and motor control

SAN DIEGO New tools inspired by video games are revealing how the brain senses and responds to its surroundings, finds new human and animal research. Taking advantage of state-of-the art technologies to track and mimic real-life environments, these studies show with new detail how the brain navigates, identifies, and remembers a setting. In additional human research, scientists apply these same technological advances to help people who have experienced strokes regain skills.

The results were presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.

Today's new findings show that:

Other research findings being discussed at the meeting show:

"Our brains continuously change as we experience the world," said Veronique Bohbot, PhD, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, the press conference moderator and an expert in auditory and visual spatial memory, virtual reality, and brain plasticity. "New technologies and research methods now allow researchers to study that change, investigating individual differences in the way people use spatial memory, navigation, and motor function, as well as implications for the use of navigation devices such as GPS. Many potential real-life therapies inspired by video games are already emerging from the virtual world."

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This research was supported by national funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as private and philanthropic organizations.

View the full news release and materials here.



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