Gravity on the brain, reported in New Scientist, 23 April, 2005, p20.
Francesco Laquaniti, had observed that astronauts are not good at predicting the movement of objects in zero gravity. He and a team of researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation and University of Rome studied brain scans of people who were observing moving objects. They found that a region of the brain called the vestibular cortex was activated when the subjects were shown objects moving in a normal way under the influence of gravity, but did not respond as much when the subjects were shown objects moving in an unnatural way. Laquaniti concluded this meant the vestibular cortex was responding to gravity, not just movement. It seems the brain has a built-in memory model of gravity that it uses to predict movements.
The vestibular cortex is the region of brain that processes information coming from balance sensors, e.g. the inner ear. The researchers suggested the vestibular cortex uses the balance information to calibrate the model.
Editorial Comment: The more we study how the brain perceives the world around us the more we are finding that brains come with vast amounts of back information already built into them, without which it cannot interpret the world around it. This is good evidence for purposeful creation by God who designed both our bodies and the environment we live in and programmed our brains accordingly.
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