Washington University in St. Louis researchers, in conjunction with several European researchers, have developed a virtual model of the brain that daydreams like humans do.
The model is based on the dynamics of brain cells and the many connections those cells make with their neighboring cells and with cells in other regions of the brain.
The researchers hope the new model helps to show why certain portions of the brain work together when a person daydreams or is mentally idle.
"In a way, we treated small regions of the brain like cognitive units: not as individual cells but as groups of cells," says Pompeu Fabra University professor Gustavo Deco.
The researchers used brain scan data to assemble 66 cognitive units in each hemisphere of the brain, and interconnected them in anatomical patterns similar to the connections found in the human brain. They then set up the model so that the individual units went through the signaling process at random low frequencies that had previously been observed in brain cells in culture and in recordings of resting brain activity.
"The spatial pattern of synchronization that we eventually observed approximates very well--about 70 percent--to the patterns we see in scans of resting human brains," Deco says.
From Washington University in St. Louis
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