Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Changes in Brain Regions May Explain Why Some Prefer Order and Certainty #Science #Medicine #Neurology

A UCLA study has identified changes in brain regions that may hold a key to why some people prefer order and organization and others do not.

Credit: Patricia Marroquin/UCLA

Why do some people prefer stable, predictable lives while others prefer frequent changes? Why do some people make rational decisions and others, impulsive and reckless ones? UCLA behavioral neuroscientists have identified changes in two brain regions that may hold answers to these questions.

The research -- reported by Alicia Izquierdo, UCLA associate professor of psychology and a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute, and her psychology graduate student, Alexandra Stolyarova -- is published in the open-access online science journal eLife.

Science Daily:  Changes in brain regions may explain why some prefer order and certainty

Mystifying to me is the fact a friend knows before he ever sets out on a holiday trip everywhere he still stop for fuel along the way.  For contrast, when I started out on Mister Toad's Wild Ride, I didn't have a map and only had a vague idea of where I was going (i.e. Scotland by way of Mount Etna).

Note:  regrettably, I did not make it to Mount Etna but I did make it to Scotland and a whole lot of bettors must have lost their shirts on that run.  What do you mean he made it???  WTF???

Rats without a functional orbitofrontal cortex, however, did not learn at all, and instead treated each experience as a "reset" button, the researchers report. It is as if these rats did not have a record of the full range of possible outcomes. The important role for the orbitofrontal cortex surprised Izquierdo, who said there was more evidence that the basolateral amygdala would be important in conditions of uncertainty, and not as much for the orbitofrontal cortex.

- SD

That goes far deeper into my understanding of cerebral structure than I ever needed but that segment shows the research isn't speculative psychology but rather active neurology in terms of which parts do what things.  The physical basis for such behaviors is the source of the intrigue for the Rockhouse.

All rats chose the risky option more often. The exception was the rats without a functional basolateral amygdala; those animals stayed risk-averse throughout the experiments.

The orbitofrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala share anatomical connections, and both regions are involved in decision-making, earlier research has shown. The new research indicates this is especially so during changing or uncertain circumstances.

Changes in these brain regions and brain proteins may help to explain a person's preference for uncertain outcomes, Izquierdo said. Humans have individual differences in orbitofrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala function and in the expression of these proteins, she noted.

- SD

Since you're out here instead of running about a social network, it's probably a safe bet that your basolateral amygdala is functioning well.  Perhaps in future there will be science to study how much that type of physical situation correlates with use of social networks since probably few other groups are more risk averse.

There's a wealth more in the source article on the detailed aspects of the different components of the brain.  Good luck on that but, here at the Rockhouse, we will take our leave ... even though we have no idea where we will go after that.

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