Bil­lions of Tick­ing Clocks

NEU­RO­SCI­EN­TISTS ARE STILL DE­BAT­ING EX­ACTLY

Popular Science - - CHARTED -

how a clump of cells man­ages to track time. The lat­est idea, called the pop­u­la­tion clock the­ory, sug­gests neu­rons all over the brain, rather than a cen­tral chunk of gray mat­ter, tick away con­stantly. A stim­u­lus—say the start of a walk to work—trig­gers neu­rons to start fir­ing, cre­at­ing a pat­tern of lit-up cells that in­di­cates how much time has passed. Each cir­cuit acts as a unique clock; the path might get one clus­ter while a pass­ing car gets an­other, cre­at­ing count­less timers in our heads. Sci­en­tists think var­i­ous brain ar­eas read these cir­cuits, which is why you can cross the street, lis­ten to mu­sic, and text at the same time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.