A new study claims that memes are actually just the brain’s way of making connections between disparate objects in the environment, so that when a single object is clicked on it activates the same neurons in the brain.
The new study, published in the journal Science, found that when subjects clicked on a common picture of a flower, it activated a part of the brain associated with flowers.
But when subjects saw different pictures, they saw very different images of flowers.
This was the case even when the subjects were presented with pictures of the same flowers.
“What we found was that when we looked at a flower that was a common one, we would have seen the same flower and different flowers,” said the lead author of the study, Dr Chris Higgs.
“But when we saw different flowers we would see different flowers.
So the fact that we could actually see the difference between different flowers was something that had not been seen before.”
Dr Higgs said the study is a proof of concept, and not a conclusive proof that memes exist.
“We don’t know for sure if memes are real, but it is interesting that it’s possible to find the same brain activity when you’re looking at pictures of different flowers in the same place,” he said.
Dr Higgles study used a computational method to simulate the interaction between the brain and a stimulus, and then compared the results.
The result is that it appears that the neural activation associated with a single flower, rather than just its flower, is the key to making a connection.
“So you can make connections between the neurons and they will activate the same ones in the whole brain, and you can then make that connection with a different flower,” Dr Higgs explained.
“You can actually see a difference between the two flowers, and when you do that, the flowers respond to the different stimuli and then they activate the neural connections that you had created in the flower.”
Dr Chris Higges is the lead researcher on the study.