Archive for September, 2015

Personal traits

Posted by

Humans can look beyond immediate positive and negative experiences, and can additionally encode behavioural traits. Both learning from reward and learning from traits involve processing in the ventral striatum. Learning about traits allows another person to be valued in contexts other than the immediate one, and this can be important in social decision-taking.

Quantum criticality

Posted by

This article discusses the earlier Arxiv paper, Quantum Criticality at the Origins of Life, authored by Gabor Vattay, Stuart Kauffman et al. Electrical conduction is normally associated with the movement of electrons through conductive materials such as metals. However, this type of conduction is not seen as normal for organic systems. Hole and electron transport mechanisms have problems with the size of band gaps.

Opioid receptors

Posted by

A sub-population of the striatal direct-pathway neurons, known for being connected to voluntary movement, can be the basis of opiate-reward driven activities. The brain’s opioid system is basic to the reward value of stimuli and consequent behaviours. Opioid receptors bind to the brain’s opioid peptides such as enkephalin, β-endorphin, or dynorphin. μ-opioid receptors act to suppress the neuronal activity of neurons that otherwise…

Neural choices

Posted by

The brain is viewed as having two systems for making decisions. The first approach is to value actions according to the rewards they have generated in the past. A second or model-based approach uses more flexible evaluation of new or changing options, or works on generalisation from known

Ventromedial prefrontal

Posted by

This study shows that human decision-makers adapt their level of persistence in waiting for rewards to the environment in which the decision is being made. Neural signalling in the ventromedial prefrontal, an area involved with evaluation, could evolve differently for identical time delays, if there is a difference in the environment. The neural valuation system is here seen as including the ventromedial prefrontal (VMPFC), the ventral striatum (VS) and the posterior cingulate cortex

Sharp waves and memories

Posted by

The consolidation of memories depends on the hippocampus. The hipppocamus generates ripple activity, which is a sharp wave oscillation at 100-300 Hz, mainly within the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Sharp-wave associated field oscillations of the hippocampus, referred to as ripples, are thought to be involved in the consolidation of memories. The median raphe region

Observer’s choices

Posted by

The choices of other people are argued to increase the value of such choices for individuals. The related neural processing is encoded in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the signals are predictive of conformity with other people’s preferences.