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Ferret Paper - normal functioning side to respond to...

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Peter Rehder 714874731 Psych 220 sec. 001 Ferret Paper In order to study differentiation of neurons in the brain, some scientists severed the optic nerve of ferrets to see if the auditory area of the thalamus could adapt to receive visual inputs. Because ferrets are born immaturely, their optic nerves do not reach the thalamus until after birth. Researchers took advantage of this in order to test differentiation. In the left hemisphere of the brain, researchers severed the two main targets for the optic nerve, the superior colliculus and the occipital cortex. Additionally, they severed the inferior colliculus, a main source of auditory input, on that same side of the brain. As a result, the optic nerve attached to the auditory area of the thalamus instead of the visual area. The area of the thalamus that usually receives auditory input now only received visual input. After altering this connection, researchers trained the right hemisphere of the brain (the
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Unformatted text preview: normal functioning side) to respond to auditory and visual stimuli in different ways. They conditioned the ferrets to turn their heads left when they heard a tone and to turn them right when they saw a red light. When the ferrets had learned the task well, a visual stimulus was presented to the left hemisphere of the brain. When the researchers showed a red light to the right eye (controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain), the ferrets turned their heads to the right. This demonstrated that the auditory part of the thalamus had reorganized to receive input from the optic nerve and produce visual responses. The experiment clearly illustrates the neurons in the ferret brains could differentiate into multiple cell types, allowing them to receive stimuli that were not otherwise intended for those areas of the brain. I pledge that I have neither received nor given unauthorized assistance on this assignment. Peter Rehder...
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