Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats

Date:
March 20, 2013
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Scientists have discovered how memory recall is linked to decision-making in rats, showing that measurable activity in one part of the brain occurs when rats in a maze are playing out memories that help them decide which way to turn. The more they play out these memories, the more likely they are to find their way correctly to the end of the maze.

Scientists have discovered how memory recall is linked to decision-making in rats, showing that measurable activity in one part of the brain occurs when rats in a maze are playing out memories that help them decide which way to turn.
Credit: © FikMik / Fotolia

Scientists at UC San Francisco have discovered how memory recall is linked to decision-making in rats, showing that measurable activity in one part of the brain occurs when rats in a maze are playing out memories that help them decide which way to turn. The more they play out these memories, the more likely they are to find their way correctly to the end of the maze.

In their study, reported this week in the journal Neuron, the UCSF researchers implanted electrodes directly on a region of the rat brain known as the hippocampus, which is already known to play a key role in the formation and recall of memory. This same region is active when animals are learning, and it is damaged in people who have Alzheimer's and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The study showed that when the rats paused before an upcoming choice, sometimes the hippocampus was more active and sometimes it was less active. When it was more active it did a better job of recalling memories of places the animal could go next, and the animal was more likely to go to the right place.

"We know that considering possibilities is important for decision-making, but we haven't really known how this happens in the brain," said neuroscientist Loren Frank, PhD, who led the research. Frank is an associate professor of physiology and a member of the UCSF Center for Integrative Neuroscience at UCSF.

The work builds upon several years of investigations in Frank's laboratory that have shown how activity in the hippocampus is a fundamental constituent of memory retrieval. Their recent work shows that this activity is not just about remembering the past -- it is also important for thinking about the future. When the brain does a better job of thinking about future possibilities, it makes better decisions.

Next, the team wants to tease out why sometimes the hippocampus does not do a good job of playing out future options. Problems with memory and decision-making are central to age-related cognitive decline, and a deeper understanding of how this works could pave the way for interventions that make the brain work better.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. The original article was written by Jason Socrates Bardi. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Annabelle C. Singer, Margaret F. Carr, Mattias P. Karlsson, Loren M. Frank. Hippocampal SWR Activity Predicts Correct Decisions during the Initial Learning of an Alternation Task. Neuron, 2013; 77 (6): 1163 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.01.027

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320155232.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2013, March 20). Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320155232.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320155232.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins