A new report in Science identifies a neural circuit in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex of mouse brains that may play a key role in social dominance. Using optogenetics, researchers were able to target neurons in the dmPFC to help boost a mouse's chance of 'winning' in an aggressive encounter.
Researchers discovered a part of the brain involved in future behavioral changes, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, had greater activation when smokers were exposed to anti-smoking messages with stronger arguments as opposed to weaker arguments.
Virtual reality is helping researchers uncover some of the secrets of anxiety. Using VR, study participants were able to distinguish between safe and dangerous environments in a game. However, brain scans of those with anxiety showed increased activity in the insula and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex while in a safe zone, indicating their brains were associating the safe environment with threat or danger.
According to researchers, when people are aware they are being observed, brain areas associated with social awareness and reward activate a part of the brain that affects motor control, helping them to perform better at skilled tasks.
Researchers identify brain regions associated with the successful spread of ideas, often called "buzz". Messages which will go viral on social media can be predicted, according to the study.
The dorsomedial prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in mapping out personal actions and outcomes as well as responding to the actions of others.