Navigation Links
Complex brain functions help adapt to new situations and stimuli
Date:4/28/2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Scientists have long known that the brain's frontal cortex supports concrete rule learning. Less clear is how the brain processes more complex and unfamiliar knowledge. In a paper published today (Wednesday, April 28, 2010) in the journal Neuron, a team of researchers at Brown University and the University of CaliforniaBerkeley tested whether the frontal lobe has the ability to process more abstract knowledge and how this ability could help navigate new situations and stimuli.

The researchers believed that the brain's frontal cortex could be organized in a front-to-back hierarchy in which the neurons at the front of the frontal cortex have the ability to process more progressively abstract knowledge. This part of the brain, therefore, would be more important in planning and deciding what to do when a person is faced with an unfamiliar problem. To test this hypothesis, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study participants during two unfamiliar tasks, one with concrete rules and the other with more abstract rules.

"The average person can easily determine how to open a door by pulling a rope rather than turning a knob, even if they have not seen the rope handle previously," said David Badre, assistant professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown. "We wanted to investigate how the brain achieves this remarkable flexibility and test whether we use generalized forms of past knowledge to solve current problems."

The researchers found that the activity in an anterior part of the frontal cortex predicted individual differences in participants' success at discovering abstract relationships. Based on their observations, the researchers suggest that when faced with a new situation, people may search for relationships between context and action that involve multiple levels of abstraction simultaneously. This capability could underlie the ability to adapt behaviors based on the generalization of separate, past learning.

"How we face new problems and the reasoning, decision-making and action that we take in an uncertain situation may have more to do with the functional organization of the frontal cortex than we previously realized," said Badre.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anne Coyle
anne_coyle@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Unravelling new complexity in the genome
2. DNA replication behavior in complex organisms may foreshadow leaps in genomic discoveries
3. Upper Midwest forests are losing diversity, complexity, ISU study finds
4. Rebuilding the evolutionary history of HIV-1 unravels a complex loop
5. Complex carbon picture clearer
6. New process makes nanofibers in complex shapes and unlimited lengths
7. Evolving complexity out of junk DNA
8. Research leading to tools for managing bovine respiratory disease complex
9. Researchers visualize complex pigment mixtures in living cells
10. Epigenetic regulation by the MMB/dREAM complex
11. First rule of evolution suggests that life is destined to become more complex
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2017)... Optimove , provider of the ... as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced two new ... Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these features allow ... recommendations to their customers based not just on ... intent drawn from a complex web of data ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... Germany , March 16, 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity ... Continue Reading ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide ... Used ... Systems) ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... , March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , the ... by The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to support ... The Trust. The UK,s leading youth charity will be ... campaign results and get a better understanding of the topics and ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 According to a report ... derivatives market is fragmented due to the presence of a large pool ... Thermo Fisher , and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with each other in ... collectively, held more than 76% of this market in 2016.  ... As of now, a ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... today announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? ... partnerships and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017  Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND), a ... to address significant unmet medical needs in rare ... year ended December 31, 2016. ... as we broadened our pipeline and pursued our ... company with an initial focus on endocrinology," said ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused ... announced today that Dr. Miriam Kidron , ... titled, "Oral Insulin for Diabetes Treatment: Bypassing the ... and Peptide Therapeutics (OPT) Boston Conference in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: