Research

Doctors understand how the brain remembers decisions and accumulates experience

The brain of mammals (including ours with you)stores and remembers a huge amount of information based on our decisions and interactions with the outside world. As a result, we adapt and gain experience in a particular area of ​​our lives. But how exactly does this happen? And how that “life experience” accumulates. It seems that scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found the answer to these questions.

How the brain works

A group of researchers led by an associate professor of the departmentin their work, Jeremy Cohen used imitation of life in the wild to teach 36 mice to choose between two tubes that deliver water to them. Both tubes were controlled by a computer and the machine turned on each of them "randomly" (from the point of view of mice), but at the same time following a certain algorithm. As a result, the animals understood how this system works and began to approach the tube that most likely could turn on and drink them more often.

See also: How just a few cigarette puffs have changed your brain forever.

The most interesting thing started after scientistschanged the water supply algorithms. When the rodents realized that “something was wrong,” they needed much less time than the first time to understand how the water supply pipes now work. At the same time, the “awareness” with each change of the water supply algorithm took less and less time. That is, animals, based on previous experience, adapted to the changing conditions and made certain decisions.

How does the brain shape the experience?

To find out, roughly speaking, where in the brain of mice"Memories of water are stored," scientists attached rodents to the head of microelectrodes in order to measure the speed of more than 3000 neurons of the cerebral cortex. At the beginning of the experiment (when the mice did not yet have knowledge of the operation of the water supply system), the action potential was recorded only in brain regions responsible for short-term memory. In the course of the continuation of the experiments, the speed of signal transmission between neurons decreased (which indicates a faster decision-making), and later signals began to be recorded in the areas of the brain responsible for long-term memory (formation of experience). As Jeremy Cohen told:

Figuring out where and how long the brain canto store information and why it does it gives us the opportunity to understand how the decision-making model works. Ultimately, such models will help us find ways to influence zones that have been formed as a result of negative experience. For example, the areas responsible for alcohol, cigarettes or drugs addiction. After that we will be able to develop more effective methods of dealing with these conditions.

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