Using characters from "Game of Thrones", researchers investigated what happens in the brain when people immerse themselves in fiction. The study found the more people became immersed in a story, the more they "became" the fictional character while reading. This was reflected in activity changes in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with thinking about one's self.
Novel experiences dampen previous memory representations in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, facilitating flexible strategy encoding in mice.
A new study reveals specific brain regions that individually promote patience through the action of serotonin.
Neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex respond more to loss than to gain. Avoidance of risk-taking is affected by an area of the hippocampus that is associated with memory and anxiety. The findings suggest a close relationship between memory processing and decision making when risk is present, especially in stressful situations. The fresh insights might help guide new psychiatric therapies for disorders marked by excessive avoidance, such as anxiety, and depression, and also mania and addiction, where excessive risk-taking is a common feature.
Social isolation experienced during childhood has an impact on adult brain function and behavior. Following two weeks of social isolation immediately following weaning in male mice, researchers noticed a failure in activation of medial prefrontal cortex neurons projecting to the posterior paraventricular thalamus during social exposure in adulthood. Findings suggest medial prefrontal cortex neurons required for sociability are profoundly affected by social isolation at a young age.
Aging may alter neural processes for remembering continuous real-world experiences and segmenting memories.
Males with autism have atypically enhanced excitation in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). This area of the brain is associated with social cognition and self-reflection. Autistic women showed a more intact mPFC response, which was associated with a better ability to camouflage social difficulties in real-world settings.
Study reveals how two neural circuits dictate the choice between social approach and avoidance. The network connecting the infralimbic cortex to the basolateral amygdala (BLA) impairs social behavior if there is a decrease in neural activity. Another network connecting the prelimbic cortex to the BLA similarly impairs social behavior if the neural activity is increased.
In the medial prefrontal cortex, loneliness is associated with a reduced representational similarity between the self and others. Feeling socially disconnected may be mirrored by a self-representation of being a "loner."