Professor Takatsugu Kawai of University of Tsukuba, Professor Masayuki Matsumoto, Professor Nobuya Sato of Kwansei Gakuin University, Professor Masahiko Takada of Kyoto University and others have discovered brain regions that are active when animals learn and try to avoid things they dislike. ..By clarifying a part of the mechanism by which the brain learns, it is expected to be an important finding for elucidating activities related to learning disorders.
Humans don't like losing money or getting angry, but the next step is to learn to avoid the behavior that caused it.It is not clear how the brain works at this time to realize learning.To answer these questions, the research group focused on two areas of the brain, the lateral habenular nucleus and the anterior cingulate cortex.It is a part that shows strong activity due to unpleasant experience, and it is known that it is strongly linked anatomically.
In order to investigate the relationship between these areas and learning of unpleasant things, we conducted an experiment to record the activity of nerve cells using monkeys with developed cognitive function as shoulder animals.Two targets are presented on the computer monitor, and the monkey chooses the one he likes by moving his eyes.If you select one, you will get apple juice, but if you select the other, you will not get anything.You will learn the unpleasant experience of not getting juice in such an environment and will choose the target to get juice.The brain measurements at this time showed that the lateral habenular nuclei were active when no reward was received, and the anterior cingulate cortex was active when the target was changed.It was also found that the anterior cingulate cortex gradually increased in excitement due to repeated unpleasant experiences.From this, it can be considered that the lateral habenular nucleus quickly detects an unpleasant experience and the anterior cingulate cortex remembers that experience.
In this way, the mechanism of the brain that animals learn from unpleasant experiences and avoid them has been clarified.This finding is expected to lead to the investigation of the cause of learning disabilities.
Source:[University of Tsukuba] Discovering the mechanism of the brain learned from negative experiences-Two brain regions share roles for learning to avoid unpleasant things-