Trending March 2024 # How To Find And Use Snapchat’s New Backgrounds And Voice Filters. # Suggested April 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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If you have the feeling Snapchat adds a new feature every few weeks, you’re not wrong, especially at the moment. It has only been a couple of weeks since the release of Snap Maps and now Snapchat has released new voice filters and backgrounds. This guide will show you where to find the newly added features and how to use them.

How to Find and Use Snapchats Snap Map. 

Snapchat always seems to be a step ahead of the curb when it comes to new features and innovation, leaving Facebook and Instagram scrambling to implement an almost clone like feature at a later date. With the dust only just settling on the last big Snapchat feature Snap Maps, it’s quite surprising to see another feature added so quickly. Perhaps this is a strategy to overwhelm Facebook and Instagram with clone projects…. Whatever Snapchats reason for this, it’s always a great outcome for users, new features usually means more fun, so let’s find out a little more about Snapchat Backgrounds and Voice Filters.

Before we begin showing you how to use the new features, you will need to make sure you have the latest version of Snapchat installed on your mobile device, version If you don’t, you won’t be able to use voice filters or backgrounds. To get the latest version, simply open your phone or tablet’s app store and check for updates. Once you have Snapchat version you’ll have full access to all the features, regardless of whereabouts in the world you live.   

The Other Feature we Didn’t Mention in the Title. (Snap Links)

As well as adding backgrounds and voice filters, Snapchat has also added the ability to share links with friends in Snaps. This is probably the most useful feature included in the recent update, however, it is more a utility than a fun feature, never the less, it’s a handy option to have. To Share a link in a Snap, tap the new Paperclip icon in the vertical toolkit menu (the same toolbar that allows you to add text to snaps)

Once you’ve tapped the paperclip icon, you will need to give Snapchat permission to use the clipboard, after you have approved access, you can manually type a URL or more easily paste one into the box. When you have finished putting together your link inclusive snap, you can send it in the same manner as you would any other snap.  

Finding and Using Snapchat Backgrounds.

Each time Snapchat’s features list grows, the user interface usually become slightly more crowded, making some features near impossible to find. Unless you know exactly where you’re looking or more likely if you stumble on to them! The first feature we will be locating, is the Snap Backgrounds feature, which allows you to add custom backgrounds to your snaps.

To find Snapchat backgrounds you will need to take a snap, then tap the Scissors icon in the vertical toolkit menu (the same toolbar that allows you to add text to snaps) on this submenu look for the newly added backdrop icon, it looks like a square with slanted lines through it. Now, all you have to do is choose a background you think works with your image, once that’s done you can send your snap. For now though, the background options are pretty boring, however, Snapchat will no doubt add more as time goes on.

Finding and Using Snapchat Voice Filters. 

The last feature and the most interesting are the newly added Snapchat Voice Filters, which allow you to change your voice to a variety of crazy sounding novelty characters. One of the more notable and highly annoying options is the Chipmunk voice, which will no doubt be a fantastic way to drive your friends mad. There are a few others you can choose from, including a sci-fi robot.

To use the new Snapchat Voice filters you will need to record a Snap, (with voice included obviously) then tap the speaker icon at the bottom of the screen. Finally, all you need to do is choose the effect you like and you are done, you can now send the snap to all your friends or post it to your Snap following.

You're reading How To Find And Use Snapchat’s New Backgrounds And Voice Filters.

Best Snapchat Filters And Lenses To Use In 2023

Whether it is to impress the girl in your class or have some fun with your friends, Snapchat has fantastic filters for every occasion. While Instagram copied this feature for its stories, Snapchat remains one of the favorite apps for millions worldwide. Plus, nearly half a million Snapchat filters are created every month. Let me show you some of the popular and best Snapchat filters to try right now.

How to use Snapchat filters on iPhone?

Note: The human faces used in this article are generated by an AI and aren’t real.

Best Snapchat filters for selfies

1. Anime Blush by kiki

This is one of the most popular Snapchat filters right now. This filter adds a slight blush red accent to your cheeks, making you look like an anime character. So if you’re an anime fan, you need to try this.

Try it on Snapchat

2. Anime Style by Snapchat

There’s one more anime filter on Snapchat that’s making rounds – the Anime Style filter. It imagines how you would look if you were a character in an anime. You can even select photos from your camera roll. Have fun making anime characters out of your friends!

Try it on Snapchat

3. Sailor’s Cap by Snapchat

Want to see a ‘Popeye the sailor man’ version of yourself? Try this Sailor’s Cap filter from Snapchat. This filter adds a typical sailor beard to your face, an oversized sailor hat, and even a blowing pipe into your mouth.

Try it on Snapchat

4. The Elders by jp pirie

Even though Halloween is a few months away, it’s a different feeling scaring people out of nowhere. There are plenty of scary Snapchat filters available, but this is one of my favorites. At first, your image will look normal, but as soon as you open your mouth, this filter will add ‘The Mummy.’

Try it on Snapchat

5. Love Mood by Snapchat

This Snapchat filter removes acne and adds a subtle glow to your face. Love Mood is one of the best filters to impress someone.

Try it on Snapchat

Throwback Snapchat lenses

1. VHS by Snapchat

Retro filters never get old. VHS by Snapchat adds a subtle CRT-like glitch theme to your photos. It also adds an overlay of your name, date, time, and the little ‘Play’ button to complete the throwback feel.

Try it on Snapchat

2. Vintage Camera by Miha Malenšek

This is one of my personal favorites. This Snapchat filter adds 90s Handycam (remember those?) like black borders to the photo. Moreover, the filter adds a pinkish-grey and grain overlay to the images, making them look like they were captured in the 90s.

Try it on Snapchat

3. Vogue Noir by TYLER ALLEN

You’ve probably heard about this. Vogue Noir makes you look like a cover model of the Vogue magazine. It turns your snap into a black and white image, and you can control the Vogue logo color too.

Try it on Snapchat

4. Polaroid Frame by Saman Hasan

This simple-looking Snapchat filter from Saman Hasan adds a polaroid-like frame to your photo. what’s more? It also adds a custom handwritten-like date to the bottom of your snap.

Try it on Snapchat

Best Snapchat filters for guys

1. Mustaches by Snapchat

Ever imagined how a mustache would look on you? This Snapchat filter adds a giant mustache to your face, and not only a mustache, but it also adds an overlay that makes your snap look vintage.

Try it on Snapchat

2. Fashion Sunglasses by Snapchat

This popular Snapchat filter makes you look like a member of a band or a motorbike gang. It adds a perfectly grown long beard to your face and a sassy-looking pair of sunglasses too.

Try it on Snapchat

3. Fire Glasses by Snapchat

This Snapchat filter adds a pair of shades, with a fire burning inside it to your face.

Try it on Snapchat

4. Dramatic Warm by by Maxima🦋

This Snapchat filter adds a hue of warmth to your snap. The photo looks more yellowish, and well, yes, dramatic too.

Try it on Snapchat

5. rosy lips GRAIN by NĪK

This lens makes your lips look pinker while adding a subtle reddish tone to your photo. Hard to deny, the filter adds a “killer look” to your face.

Try it on Snapchat

Most used filters on Snapchat for girls

1. Golden Hour by Jalen Lee

As the name suggests, this filter mimics the ‘Golden Hour,’ when the sunlight is reddish and softer. Activate it to have that golden glow on your face.

Try it on Snapchat

2. VSCO Filters

This is an all-in-one Snapchat filter. Once you unlock this lens by scanning the snap code, it will give you instructions on-screen to choose from hundreds of overlays. Using this, you actually don’t need to install and browse through thousands of Snapchat filters.

Try it on Snapchat

3. Pecan by LUCKEE BAINS

Pecan is for all those pale girls out there. Tanning your skin can be hard and a time taking process. This filter adds a coat of tan to your body. You can control the level of tan it adds and has an option to add a bit of noise to the photo as well.

Try it on Snapchat

Try these fun-looking Snapchat lenses too

Video: Best Snapchat filters

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How To Use Tiktok Filters: Everything You Need To Know

Presenting the best side of you is an irrepressible instinct, and it applies to physical appearance. Filters and effects on TikTok are tools that help you upscale the visual impact of a video by fusing it with your own creativity. 

In this article, let’s break down the function of filters and effects, where to find them, and how to use them.

How to add filters to a TikTok video

Launch the TikTok app and tap the Create “+” button.

It opens the app cam. The icon for filters is “three-converging-circles” and is found in the vertical list of editing tools on the right side of the screen. You may implement (most) filters before or after recording either photos or videos in the Quick or Camera modes, or even to the photos uploaded from the image library. 

Tap Filters to view the choices.

Filters are classified on the basis of applicability into Portrait (for faces or people), Landscape (for places or other visuals of a broader panorama), Food (clearly to improve the aesthetic appeal of food items), and Vibe (for more thematic filming like a vignette filter for vintage vibe). The red circle around a filter indicates its selected state.

You can also adjust the intensity of the filter’s effects using the slider bar.

The screenshot below shows an image as seen through the Landscape V6 filter implemented to the extent of 80% to increase the saturation of red color in the feed.

Tap Management to add or remove filters from the available categories.

Apart from the filters with the dimmed checkboxes (which represent the default filters), you can check or uncheck any filter to add or remove them from the filters shortcut.

Related: How to Turn On Profile Views on TikTok

TikTok Beautify versus Enhance modes

While filters serve as cool lenses to transform the visual quality on an unbiased scale, TikTok also has certain filters that form a beauty mode. These are not titled as filters but called Beautify on TikTok app for iOS or Enhance on TikTok app for Android.

Beautify holds a whole belt of various brushes to give your facial features a virtual transformation. It has tools to smoothen the skin texture, whiten your teeth, or even tweak your facial contours to name a few. In addition, it also includes necessary makeup tools like foundation or lipstick to finish up the look.

If we compare both these enhancements effects side by side, Enhance (on Android app) is a cut above with its full-fledged make-up and beautifying tools that offer a whole range of unique “face” filters to alter everything from natural to either of the extreme ends.

Enhance has an additional tab titled Make-up which has 8 make-up lenses (2 for men) to glam up your look. In the screenshot below, you can see the effect of “Romantic” make-up look on my eye — the original brown eye color is superimposed with a green iris, and even a hint of mascara effect is added to the lashes. Various changes are applied to all the features and it could be simple and inconsequential as proffered by the Nature look or make for a dramatic change when the Glow look is used.

Related: What does ‘Connected to you’ mean on TikTok?

TikTok Filters vs Effects

In the TikTok universe, filters and effects are terms often used interchangeably. Because they don’t contradict in function, but even share close relations, it is not necessarily wrong if you identify one for the other. However, there is an inherent variation in the overall impact of filters and effects as independent tools and let’s see take a close look at it.

Filters on TikTok are layers imposed on a video/image as a whole. We can relate it to the color filters available on editing software like the sepia mode you apply to an image to give it a warmer tone and imbue it with a vintage spirit. Filters are predefined and consistent; each one could be understood as a lens that transforms the view according to their innate attributes — hence the overall result is not limited to a particular region but to the video or image as a whole.

Filters are available are a part of the editing tool in the TikTok editing function, and they are differentiated into various categories like filters for portraits or images of landscapes, or food. They are preset and infused with varying color saturation to evoke a certain mood or feeling.

The line separating filters and effects as tools blur when effects that emulate a filter in function get added to the app’s roster. For instance, the Euphoria filter on TikTok is accessible to uses on the app as an effect — this comes down to one reason, filters are preset lenses available as an editing tool on TikTok; on the other hand, the new filters could be added by eligible users to the app get registered as effects in it. As a result, the real point of differentiation is fine, or almost invisible when we consider these terms on the basis of application than technical definition.

Now, let’s take a look at where to find these tools and how to use them to enhance the quality of our content.

How to add Effects to a TikTok video

Effects serve a highly interactive role in pioneering or indulging in TikTok trends. They give your videos that much-needed amplification that can not be rendered by the simple color overlay effects of preset filters.

Have you ever felt at a loss as to where to find all these cool effects that are so awesomely employed by the vibrant community of TikTok creators? Well, you no longer have to feel left out or clueless, because, we are about to explore the various ways to locate and use any of the available Effects on the apps.

1. Find effects from the Effects box in the app camera

The most straightforward way is to scavenge for interactive effects straight in the Effects box in the app’s create page.

Launch TikTok and tap the Create “+” button.

The popup shows a whole spectrum of effects to choose from. The effects which you have previously favorited are available under the first tab. 

Slide the tabs to view all the subcategories or scroll down to explore the various effects listed under each group. The amount of fun you can have with TikTok effects is immeasurable… like playing with this little AR Turtle that jumped out of my phone onto the screen of my PC.

If you use an Android phone, the TikTok app even supports “searching” within the Effects. All you have to do is enter keywords like “zoom”, “green screen”, “3D”, etc. to get quick access to a list of all the effects that fall under it.

2. Use effects from a currently playing video

When you see these enthralling trends that use intriguing effects, it is only natural for your curiosity to get piqued. Perhaps, you might even get tempted to try the effect yourself. But, where to find them? Of course, you can search for the effect by name if you know it, but most often than not, the names of effects get overshadowed by other elements in the trending video. 

Worry not, because the answer is available in plain view for you to go grab. When you see a video that you think contains an interesting effect or filter, you can find them in the effects tagged to the post.

All the effects get automatically tagged to the post. Tap the effect tag.

If you wish to use the effect right away, tap Try this effect.

Booked effects are grouped under a separate, quick access tab under effects. To access the “favorited” effects, tap the + Create button.

Now, tap Effects located at the left side of the red record button.

The quickest method to use an effect immediately is even simpler. Tap the ellipsis button on the right side of the screen.

Tap Use this effect to carry it directly over to your create page.

Tip: Search for effects in TikTok Discover

You can also resort to the TikTok Discover feed to dredge up an effect used in a trend based on your keyword query.

Tap any video from the results.

Tap Try this effect to immediately jump to the create page with the effect.

Filters and effects are almost the same when it comes to functionality, the differentiation is incorporated to delineate the preset filters that offer basic color overlays from the interactive filters that show more versatility in terms of the ability to impress viewers. However, effects such as Euphoria mentioned above are fundamentally filters that also showcase preset attributes. Hence, it all comes down to where to find them and what they offer. 


New To Iphone? How To Use The Today View And Notification Center

When you just get your first iPhone, you’ll find that it’s super easy to use. It has a nicely organized Home screen and a simple way to find your Settings. But there are little tips and tricks that can take a while to learn, like how to use your Today View and Notification Center effectively.

That’s why iDB is here to help with our “New to iPhone” series. If you fall into the new iPhone user group, this series, along with this article, are for you. Here’s how to use the Today View and Notification Center on your iPhone.

Today View and Notification Center What exactly are the Today View and Notification Center?

The Today View is a unique spot that contains widgets for apps you choose. For things you use frequently like your to-do list, calendar, or weather, you can pop a widget in the Today View area. Accessing Today is done by swiping right from the left edge of the Home or Lock screen.

The Notification Center holds, well, your notifications. Whether its new emails, app alerts, or text message notifications, you can find it all in the Notification Center. Accessing the Notification Center is done with a simple swipe downward on any screen.

Accessing Today View and Notification Center on the Lock screen

You can decide whether or not you want access to Today View and the Notification Center from your Lock screen. If you do, it takes a few taps to make it happen.

1) Open Settings.

2) Select Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode for iPhone X and later.

3) Scroll down to the Allow Access When Locked section and turn on the toggles for Today View and/or Notification Center.

Customizing the Today View

Taking a bit of time to customize the Today View on your iPhone is worth it because it gives you what you use most often in an easily accessible spot.

Adding, removing, and rearranging widgets

Access Today View, scroll to the very bottom, and tap Edit. This takes you to the Add Widgets screen.

At the top, you’ll see the widgets currently in your Today View and at the bottom are the additional widgets you can add.

To remove a widget from Today View, tap the minus sign in red, and tap Remove.

To add a widget, tap the plus sign in green.

To rearrange widgets, tap the three-line icon, drag, and release.

When you browse through widgets you can add at the bottom, you’ll notice that some apps offer more than one type of widget. For instance, the Maps app lets you pick Destinations, Nearby, or Transit widgets.

Third-party apps may provide different widgets as well. For example, Google Maps has Directions, Local Guides, Traffic, Transit Departures, and Travel Times widgets. So depending on the app, you can check out different widget options. For something cool, check out these iPhone weather widgets.

When you finish adding, removing, or rearranging your widgets, tap Done on the top.

Using the Notification Center

Deciding what you see in the Notification Center is a good way to make sure you’re getting the notifications you want.

You might now want that area filled up with game notifications or other app alerts that you don’t care about.

To adjust the notifications you see, head to your Settings and select Notifications. For each app in your list, you can decide whether or not an alert displays in the Notification Center. Tap an app and then select or deselect Notification Center.

It can be a tedious task to do this for every app in the list that you turn on notifications for, but worth it if you want to keep your Notification Center in order.

Actions in the Notification Center

When you swipe to access your Notification Center, you can also perform actions on those alerts.

Tap or swipe right to open the app or swipe left to manage that app’s notifications, view a preview of the notification, or clear all notifications for that app.

To clear out your Notification Center, tap the X at the top.

Wrapping it up

Hopefully this how-to on using your iPhone’s Today View and Notification Center will help you set them up exactly as you want them.

How To Track And Find Your Lost Airpods

This tutorial covers different ways to track and find your AirPods on Apple and non-Apple devices using the “Find My” service. We’ll also show you how to put AirPods in “Lost Mode” so whoever finds them can contact you.

If you use the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) or newer AirPods models, you can track the earbuds and charging case separately. Apple’s Find My service only lets you track the left and right AirPods on older AirPods generation.

Table of Contents

Note: You can’t track your AirPods if you turn off Find My on a paired Apple device (iPhone, iPad, MacBook, etc.) before the AirPods go missing.

How to Find AirPods on Your Devices

You can remotely track and find AirPods on Apple and non-Apple devices. This section cover steps for tracking Apple AirPods on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, and Windows devices.

Track AirPods in Find My on iPhone/iPad

Open the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad, open the


tab, and select your AirPods in the “Devices” section.

If you have the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), you can track the AirPods and charging case individually. Find My also tells you if your AirPods are in or outside the charging case.

Select your AirPods or charging case to see its location.

Look below the AirPods name for its exact location.

If your AirPods are nearby, tap Play Sound to have the earbuds play a sound so you can quickly locate them. You can also select Find to get guidance to the location of your AirPods.

If the missing AirPods are far away, select Directions to get directions to your AirPods from your current location in Apple Maps.

Track AirPods in Find My on Mac

You can track your AirPods on any Mac computer connected to the same Apple ID as your AirPods. Follow the steps below to track your lost or missing AirPods on your Mac.

Open the Find My app on your Mac and select your AirPods in the “Devices” tab on the sidebar.

Select the

Info icon

next to the AirPods (or charging case) on the map.

Check below the AirPods name for its current or last location.

You can have Find My play sounds on the missing AirPods or select Directions to get directions to its last known location. Find My displays your AirPods’ current location if listening devices are online.

Note: AirPods are tagged as “online” when charged, outside the charging case, or within range of your Apple products.

How to Track AirPods on Windows or Android Devices

Apple doesn’t have a Find My app for Windows and Android devices. However, you can use the iCloud Find Devices web tool to track your AirPods on Android, Windows, and non-Apple devices.

Visit chúng tôi in any web browser on your Android device and provide your Apple ID account credentials.

Select the

All Devices

drop-down option and select your AirPods on the list of devices.

You’ll find your AirPods location on the map. If your AirPods are nearby, select

Play Sound

to make the earbuds or charging case play a gradually increasing sound. You can also update/refresh your AirPods’ location by choosing the



What Does “No Location Found” or “Offline” Mean?

Do you see a “No location found” or “Offline” message below your AirPods in Find My? That means the Find My network can’t detect the AirPods’ exact location. This happens when your AirPods are out-of-range or have dead batteries.

You might be able to get directions to the location where they were last connected, but Find My can’t display the exact location of offline AirPods.

If someone finds your AirPods and charges them, you’ll get a notification on your Apple devices that your AirPods are back online. Only then can you track the AirPods.

Your AirPods may also appear offline if location services are disabled for the Find My network on your devices. Refer to our tutorial on fixing Find My “No location found” issues to learn how to get your AirPods location online.

Put Your AirPods in Lost Mode

Mark your AirPods as lost if they’re offline and you can’t track or locate them. By turning on Lost Mode, Apple lets you share your contact information (phone number or email address) with whoever finds your AirPods so they can contact you.

If someone using an iPhone finds your AirPods, they’ll get your message on their device. You’ll also receive a notification (on your Apple devices) when the AirPods are online or found.

Note: You can only mark AirPods as lost on Apple devices—iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, or Mac. Also, only the AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), AirPods Max, and newer AirPods models support Lost Mode.

How to Enable or Disable Lost Mode on iPhone or iPad

Follow the steps below to put your missing or lost AirPods in Lost Mode on your iOS or iPadOS device.

Open the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad and select your AirPods in the



Scroll down the AirPods menu, select


in the “Mark As Lost” section, and select


to proceed.

Enter the phone number in the dialog box and tap


in the top-right corner. Select

Use an email address

if you want to be contacted by email instead.

Review your contact information and select


in the top-right corner to turn on Lost Mode.

A lock icon appears next to your AirPods when you put it in Lost Mode. Turn off Lost Mode (see the next step) when you find your AirPods.

Select your AirPods in the Find My app and select


in the “Mark As Lost” section.


Turn Off Lost Mode

and select

Turn Off

on the pop-up to deactivate Lost Mode.

How to Enable or Disable Lost Mode on macOS Devices

Open the Find My app and select your AirPods in the


tab on the sidebar.

Select the

Info icon

next to your AirPods on the map.



in the “Mark As Lost” section.

Next, select


to proceed.

Type your phone number in the dialog box and select


in the top-right corner. Select

Use an email address

to submit your email address as your contact info instead.

Review the contact information and Lost Message and select


to mark your AirPods as lost.

Deactivate Lost Mode when you find or retrieve your AirPods. Open the AirPods menu in the Find My app and select


in the “Mark As Lost” section.

Select the

Turn Off Lost Mode



Turn Off

on the pop-up to disable Lost Mode.

Mark AirPods as Lost on Apple Watch

Open the Find Devices app and select your AirPods on the list of devices. Scroll down the AirPods menu, select Lost Mode, and toggle on Lost Mode.

Note: You can’t mark your AirPods as lost if Find My network is disabled in your AirPods settings before they went missing.

If you have your AirPods, head to your iPhone or iPad’s Bluetooth settings to check if they’re registered on the Find My network.

Wear your AirPods, open the Settings app, tap your AirPods name, scroll down the menu, and toggle on Find my network.

Contact Apple Support

Head to a nearby Apple Store or contact Apple Support over the phone if you can’t track or find your missing AirPods or AirPods case. The Apple Support representative will request your AirPods serial number, so ensure you have that information handy.

Check your AirPods packaging for its serial number. Alternatively, open your iPhone/iPad Settings app, select Bluetooth, and tap the Info icon next to your AirPods.

Your AirPods serial number, model number, and other information are in the “About” section.

Apple won’t replace your missing or lost AirPods for free, even if you have AppleCare. You’ll get an estimate to replace a single or pair of AirPods or the charging case. If you have AppleCare, you’ll pay a (cheaper) incident fee to replace your missing AirPods.

Find Your AirPods on Any Device

Apple’s Find My app is best for tracking your AirPods. The app has more features and functionalities than the web-based Find My on the iCloud website.

If you use an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, Apple recommends updating your device’s operating system before tracking your AirPods.

Boston University Neuroscientists Samantha Michalka And David Somers Find New Brain Network

Seeing Space and Hearing Time Scientists find new brain network that sheds light on attention and memory

Samantha Michalka and David Somers identified a previously unknown attention network in the brain. Their work appears in the journal Neuron. Photo by Mike Spencer

Humans abound with remarkable skills: we write novels, build bridges, compose symphonies, and even navigate Boston traffic. But despite our mental prowess, we share a surprising deficit: our working memory can track only four items at one time.

“Would you buy a computer with a RAM capacity of 4?” asks David Somers, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. “Not 4 MB or GB or 4K—just 4. So how the heck do humans do all this stuff?”

“There’s so much information out there, and our brains are very limited in what we’re able to process,” adds Samantha Michalka, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Computational Neuroscience & Neural Technology. “We desperately need attention to function in the world.”

Michalka is lead author and Somers is senior author of a new study that sheds light on this enduring mystery of neuroscience: how humans achieve so much with such limited attention. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the work identifies a previously unknown attention network in the brain. It also reveals that our working memory for space and time can recruit our extraordinary visual and auditory processing networks when needed. The research appeared on August 19, 2024, in the journal Neuron.

Prior to this work, scientists believed that visual information from the eyes and auditory information from the ears merged before reaching the frontal lobes, where abstract thought occurs. The team of BU scientists, which also included Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory Director Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, performed functional MRI experiments to test the conventional wisdom. The experiments revealed that what was thought to be one large attention network in the frontal lobe is actually two interleaved attention networks, one supporting vision and one supporting hearing. “So instead of talking about a single attention network,” says Somers, “we now need to talk about a visual attention network and an auditory attention network that work together.”

The scientists wondered just how closely the networks cooperate, and when. “Our visual system is terrific at processing space, but just okay at processing time,” says Somers. “But our auditory system is amazing for processing time, but not very good for space.” In other words, when a person tries to locate something in space, like a speeding ambulance, vision trumps hearing. But try to keep track of intervals in time, and hearing wins.

But what happens when you have to use the inferior system? For instance, what if you had to remember the location of several noises, with no visible cues? Would your overtaxed auditory system “borrow” spatial expertise from the more competent vision regions? That’s what the scientists wanted to find out. This led to another set of experiments, where they asked subjects to complete spatial tasks with their hearing, and timing tasks with their vision. The experiments showed that the two networks cooperate closely, with the visual network helping us understand what’s happening in space, and the auditory network helping us understand events occurring over time.

“When people need to remember the location of multiple sounds, the brain piggybacks on this visual-spatial system,” says Michalka. “And the same thing is true in reverse: When you need to remember a timing pattern in vision, then we see the brain piggybacking on this auditory system.”

“In a sense, we see space even if the spatial information is not visual, and we hear timing and rhythms even if the timing information is not auditory,” adds Somers. “In this way, vision and hearing each help boost each other’s capabilities.”

The team’s work adds to the overall understanding of how the human brain is organized. Fine-tuning our map of the brain may eventually lead to a deeper understanding of attention disorders and better tools for predicting the outcome of brain injuries.

Michalka says scientists are especially interested in how the frontal cortex—the hub of attention and planning—adapts to support cognition. “Because we think a lot of higher-level cognitive processes are going on there, it’s much more complicated to study, and so we need to get more and more clever in the way that we approach it,” says Michalka. “The frontal cortex is one of the final frontiers.”

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