Studies have found areas of the brain involved in seeking information about bad potential

Dr. Ilya Monosov presents data on brain activity from monkeys that confront uncertainty. Monosov and colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine have identified areas of the brain that are involved in the choice of whether or not a bad event is likely to occur.Credits: University of Washington Photo Services

The term “Doomscrolling” refers to the act of scrolling endlessly through bad news on social media and reading all the information that pops up. Unfortunately, this practice seems to be common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biology of our brain may play that role. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified specific areas and cells. brain This becomes active when an individual is faced with the choice of learning or hiding from information about unwanted and aversive events that cannot be prevented.

The findings were published on June 11th. NeuronYou can shed light on the underlying processes of mental illness, such as. Obsessive-compulsive disorder And it goes without saying how we all deal with the flood of information that is characteristic of modern life.

“People’s brains aren’t well prepared to cope with the information age,” said Dr. Ilya Monosov, an associate professor of neuroscience, neurosurgery, and biomedical engineering. “People constantly check, check, and check the news, but some of those checks don’t help at all. Our modern lifestyle is to survive in uncertain and ever-changing. It may be rebuilding circuits in the brain that have evolved over millions of years. The world. “

Studying in 2019 monkey, J. Kael White, Ph.D. (then a graduate student), a member of the Monosov Lab, and Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Ph.D., a senior scientist, identified two things. Brain region Involved in tracking uncertainties about positively anticipated events, such as rewards. Activities in these areas have motivated monkeys to find information that something good might happen.

However, it was not clear whether the same circuit was involved in seeking information about negatively anticipated events such as punishment. After all, most people want to know if, for example, a bet on horse racing will pay off. Not so for bad news.

“In the clinic, if you give some patients the opportunity to have a genetic test, such as Huntington’s disease, some will be tested as soon as possible, while others will refuse. You need to be tested until symptoms appear.” Said Mr. Monosov. “Clinicians have behaviors that ask for information in some people and fear in others.”

Lead authors Dr. Ahmad Jezini and Monosov said that something unpleasant could be approaching the two monkeys to find the neural circuits involved in deciding whether to seek information about the unwelcome potential. Taught to recognize that there is. They trained monkeys to recognize symbols that could be likely to blow stimulating air into their faces. For example, monkeys first showed one symbol to indicate that a puff could come, but the certainty varies. A few seconds after the first symbol was displayed, a second symbol was displayed to resolve the animal’s uncertainty. It told the monkeys whether the puff would definitely come or not.

Researchers measure whether an animal wants to know what happens by paying attention to a second signal, looking away, or letting monkeys choose from different symbols and results in another experiment. did.

Like humans, the two monkeys behaved differently towards bad news. I didn’t like the other.Differences in attitude toward Bad news It was impressive because they thought the same when it came to good news. When given the option to see if they would receive what they liked (a drop of juice), the two chose to check consistently.

Neuroscience instructor Jezini found that “the attitude of seeking information about negative events works bidirectionally, even among animals that have the same attitude about positively rewarding events. “For us, this was a sign that the two attitudes could be guided by different neural processes.”

By accurately measuring neural activity in the brain while monkeys face these choices, researchers have identified one brain region. Anterior cingulate cortex, It encodes information about attitudes towards good and bad possibilities separately. They discovered a second brain region. Ventral prefrontal cortex, It contains individual cells with activities that reflect the monkey’s overall attitude. Information about either good or bad possibilities is yes, and information about good possibilities is yes.

To understand the Neural circuit The underlying uncertainty is a step towards better treatment for people with uncertainties such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“We started this research because we wanted to know how the brain encodes the desire to know what our future will bring to us,” Monosov said. It was. “We live in a world where our brains are not evolving. The constant availability of information is a new challenge for us to address. information Seeking is very important for society and for mental health at the population level. ”

Cell roots for anxiety have been identified

For more information:
The Ahmad Jezzini et al. Prefrontal Network integrates the preference for prior information on uncertain rewards and punishments. Neuron (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.neuron.2021.05.013

Quote: Research finds brain regions involved in seeking information about bad potential (June 11, 2021) -Obtained from possibilities.html on June 11, 2021

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Studies have found areas of the brain involved in seeking information about bad potential

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