“Every possible visual area is just going nuts,” she adds. What does this mean?
It shows that the human brain is anything but inactive when it’s watching television. Instead, a multitude of different cortexes and lobes are lighting up and working with each other to enable us, the viewer, to relate to the images flickering before our eyes and keep up with the subtleties of the plotline – to say nothing of the complexities in the incessantly twisting storylines of the likes of The Americans or Homeland.
Hirsch uses high tech fMRI machines, or Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, in her labs at Columbia and Yale to measure the brain’s activity in her participants when they’re watching video clips. The fMRIs work by tracking blood flow into and between the many different expanses of the brain.