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HomeUncategorizedA new meaning?: what is optoception, the concept that investigates brain manipulations

A new meaning?: what is optoception, the concept that investigates brain manipulations


The authors of the study conducted an experiment with laboratory mice, to which certain laser manipulations were applied.

A team of Mexican scientists recently published a study in the journal eNeuro on the describing what could be a new sensory ability that could “guide behavioral and learning decisions” in animals. This ability has been called optoception, since, according to researchers, it consists of “perceiving optogenetic manipulations” of the brain.

Optogenetics is the science that combines genetic and optical methods (laser) to control specific events in living tissue cells with the necessary temporal precision so as not to alter the rhythm of functioning of the biological systems.

Experiment with mice

The authors of the study carried out an experiment with laboratory mice, to which certain optogenetic manipulations were applied. The results of the experiment revealed that the mice, thanks to optoception, learned to execute different sets of instructions based on the frequency of the laser.

“Taken collectively, our findings revealed that the brains of mice they could ‘monitor’ disturbances of their self-activity, albeit indirectly, perhaps through interoception or as a discriminative stimulus, opening up a new way of inputting information into the brain and controlling brain-computer interfaces,” the scientists explain. cos.

Why wouldn’t the senses be already known?

The difference between optoception and the already known senses would consist mainly in the fact that the cells that were excited or inhibited by the researchers, and felt by the mice, are found outside the sensory areas of the cortex, responsible for senses such as touch or hearing.

The experiment showed that the mice were able to clearly feel the moment when some of the cells changed their activity. This could also be considered an extension of interoception, that is, the body’s perception of its homeostasis.

In conclusion, the scientists indicate in their study that “further research should uncover whether optoception is a fundamental property throughout the brain and reveal its underlying mechanisms.”


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