HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Pure novelty spurs the brain

Neurobiologists have known that a novel environment sparks exploration and learning, but very little is known about whether the brain really prefers novelty as such. Rather, the major "novelty center" of the brain--called the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA)--might be activated by the unexpectedness of a stimulus, the emotional arousal it causes, or the need to respond behaviorally. The SN/VTA exerts a major influence on learning because it is functionally linked to both the hippocampus, which is the brain's learning center, and the amygdala, the center for processing emotional information.

Now, researchers Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Dzel report studies with humans showing that the SN/VTA does respond to novelty as such and this novelty motivates the brain to explore, seeking a reward. The researchers of University College London and Otto von Guericke University reported their findings in the August 3, 2006, issue of Neuron, published by Cell Press.

In their experiments, Bunzeck and Dzel used what is known as an "oddball" experimental paradigm to study how novel images activate the SN/VTA of volunteer subjects' brains. In this method--as the subject's brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging--they were shown a series of images of the same face or outdoor scene. However, the researchers randomly intermixed in this series four types of different, or "oddball," faces or scenes. One oddball was simply a different neutral image, one was a different image that required the researchers to press a button, one was an emotional image, and one was a distinctly novel image. In fMRI, harmless radio signals and magnetic fields are used to measure blood flow in brain regions, which reflects activity in those regions.

With this experimental design, the researchers could compare the subjects' response to the different kinds of oddball images to distinguish the brain's reaction to pure novelty itself from the other p
'"/>

Contact: Heidi Hardman
hhardman@cell.com
617-397-2879
Cell Press
2-Aug-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find gene that spurs development of the epididymis
2. Columbine flowers develop long nectar spurs in response to pollinators
3. Bridge protein spurs deadliest stages of breast cancer
4. Researchers find zip code spurs cargo transport in neurons
5. Northeast Sun Grant Institute at Cornell spurs green revolution
6. Fat deficiency gene also spurs obesity
7. Invasion of the brain tumors
8. Preclinical study links gene to brain aneurysm formation
9. Gene variant is associated with brain anatomy, clinical course of ADHD
10. Human knowledge is based upon directed connectivity between brain areas
11. A sensory organ, not the brain, differentiates male and female behavior in some mammals

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by Solution ... Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at a ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of ... develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first ... (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The ... to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American ... broadcast first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , ... faced with the challenge of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, ... ... years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy and surface ... expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range of contract ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... On Tuesday, October 24th, ABC² ... the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). The featured speaker will be ... and open to the public, but registration is required. , WHAT: ABC² ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: