The uncertain brain: Untangling ambiguity in neural circuits

Every day humans and animals face ambiguous circumstances. If we become sick after eating, we blame the food; however, if we then fall ill without having eaten that food, the causal link becomes ambiguous. New findings from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan and New York University reveal where and how such ambiguous associations are processed in the brains of rats. Learning how to predict dangerous relationships in the environment — such as between odors and food, lightning and thunder, or sounds and predators — is essential for survival. While we know much about how experiences become linked with unpleasant outcomes when the associations are clear, how these links are updated in the brain when the relationships are ambiguous was unknown. In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience‚Ķ


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