Circuit for Experience-Informed Decision-Making Identified in Rats

Atlanta, GA (Scicasts) — How is the brain able to use past experiences to guide decision-making? A few years ago, researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health discovered in rats that awake mental replay of past experiences is critical for learning and making informed choices. Now, the team has discovered key secrets of the underlying brain circuitry — including a unique system that encodes location during inactive periods. “Advances such as these in understanding cellular and circuit-level processes underlying such basic functions as executive function, social cognition, and memory fit into NIMH’s mission of discovering the roots of complex behaviours,” said NIMH acting director Dr. Bruce Cuthbert. While a rat is moving through a maze — or just mentally replaying the experience — an area in the brain’s memory…


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