The brain predicts what we see even before the eye can tell it what's going on

No need to invest in a crystal ball, your brain can already see into the future, well…sort of. Our eyes move faster than our brain is able to comprehend so in order to make up for this lapse and ensure our vision is stable and not jumpy, our brain “predicts” what our eyes will see next. Now, for the first time, scientists in Scotland have figured out exactly how we’re able to accomplish this feat.

In the study, now published online in Scientific Reports, scientists at the University of Glasgow in the UK used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and optical illusions to better understand what’s going on in our brain when we see. Whereas the eyes usually send information to the brain about what the surroundings look like, known as feedforward input, this study focused particularly on brain feedback input, the neurological process where the brain sends information to the eyes.

Study co-author Gracie Edwards, who specializes in neuroscience and psychology at the University of Glasgow, explained that the brain creates predictions based on memories of similar actions. “Feedforward and feedback information interact with one another to produce the visual scene we perceive every day,” said Edwards.