Ever wondered how we are able to focus so sharply to find that contact lens on the bathroom floor or a lost set of car keys?
The scientists have discovered that when we embark on a targeted search, various visual and non-visual regions of the brain mobilise to track down a person, animal or thing.
This means that if we're looking for a youngster lost in a crowd, the brain areas usually dedicated to recognising other objects, or even the areas attuned to abstract thought, shift their focus and join the search party.
Thus, the brain rapidly switches into a highly focused child-finder, and redirects resources it uses for other mental tasks.
"Our results show that our brains are much more dynamic than previously thought, rapidly reallocating resources based on behavioural demands, and optimises our performances by increasing the precision with which we can perform relevant tasks," said Tolga Cukur, lead author of the study from the University of California, Berkeley.