Brain perceives space in accordance with Lobachevsky’s geometry

(ORDO NEWS) — Biologists have shown that the neural networks of the hippocampus responsible for spatial perception do not change in a linear manner, but in accordance with hyperbolic geometry.

That is, the brain represents space in the form of an expanding hourglass. The results of the study may have implications for a better understanding of various neurodegenerative disorders.

Young children sometimes feel that the moon is much closer to them than it really is, and that they can touch it by simply reaching out.

When we move in our daily lives, we tend to think that we represent space in a linear fashion.

However, now scientists from the Salk Institute (USA) have found that the amount of time we spend studying the environment leads to the fact that our neural representations change non-linearly.

The results of the work, showed that hippocampal neurons responsible for spatial navigation, memory and planning perceive space in accordance with nonlinear hyperbolic or Lobachevsky geometry.

In it, three-dimensional space expands exponentially outward, in other words, it has the shape of an hourglass.

At the same time, the dimensions of space in our view increase depending on the time spent in any place.

And the studied space expands logarithmically, which corresponds to the maximum possible increase in information that our brain can process.

During the research, scientists used advanced computational approaches. They pioneered the use of hyperbolic geometry to better explain the perception of biological cues, such as smells.

Now the authors have shown that Lobachevsky’s geometry also governs neural responses, as hyperbolic maps of sensory molecules and events are perceived by neurons, which form maps of space in the brain accordingly.

Experiments in rats showed that the neurons’ representations of space in the brain expanded dynamically with the amount of time the animal spent exploring each environment.

When the rat moved more slowly, it had time to receive more information, which caused a greater increase in neural representations.

The results of the study will allow a better understanding of neural activity in various parts of the brain.

In addition, they are important for analyzing data on neurodegenerative disorders associated with learning and memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease.


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