Navigation Links
The brain's executive is an 'event planner'

Studies in which monkeys were asked to manipulate computer cursors for fruit juice rewards have revealed that the brain's "executive" center plans behaviors not by specifying movements required for given actions, but rather the events that will result from those actions.

The distinction is significant, said the researchers, because it yields new basic insight into a central function of behavioral planning in this higher brain region, called the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC).

The researchers, led by Hajime Mushiake of Tohoku University School of Medicine, reported their findings in the May 18, 2006, issue of Neuron. They concentrated on a brain region called the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), which many studies have shown to be involved in such higher brain functions as planning. However, noted the researchers, few studies have analyzed the specific nature of the behaviors that are planned.

"To achieve a behavioral goal in daily life, we often need to plan multiple steps of motor behavior that involve selection of a series of actions," wrote the researchers. "The question arises: how are individual neurons within the PFC involved in the planning of multistep behaviors? More specifically, does the activity of PFC neurons during the process of planning reflect the multiple movements required during future actions or the individual future events that occur as a result of the actions?"

To study the detailed activity of neurons in the lateral PFC during planning, the researchers fitted monkeys with recording electrodes that could measure activity in the region's neurons.

They then taught the monkeys to perform a complex task in which the animals were required to manipulate joysticks to move a cursor on a computer screen from a starting point to a goal. Importantly, the researchers required the monkeys to maneuver the cursor within a maze to reach the goal and to perform those maneuvers in a discrete stepwise fashion with pauses in between. This stepwise approach enabled the researchers to distinguish whether the lateral PFC neurons were active during planning the movements or planning the events that would result from those movements.

"We found that neurons in the lateral PFC exhibited substantial changes in activity during a preparatory period in which monkeys were required to plan multiple steps of motor behavior," concluded the researchers. "Neuronal activity during the preparatory period predominantly reflected intended (future) movements of a cursor along a particular path within a maze to reach an intended goal. All cursor movements that had to be prepared . . . to reach the goal were reflected by the activity of the PFC neurons. In contrast, very few PFC neurons (9%) reflected the intended arm movements during the preparatory period," they concluded.

"When we plan multiple steps of actions in daily life, we usually do so by consciously arranging future events that we expect to occur as the consequence of actions in a particular temporal order; we rarely consider the temporal sequence of motor actions themselves," wrote Mushiake and colleagues. "The properties of PFC neurons that we observed in the present study are compatible with behavioral planning based on future events.

"If we assume that planning for multiple movements in monkeys is analogous to that in humans, it follows that PFC neurons in the monkey brain process information for future events in a prospective manner to generate action plans based on a series of events during the course of reaching a behavioral goal," they wrote.


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
2. Deep sleep short-circuits brains grid of connectivity
3. Thinking the pain away? Study shows the brains painkillers may cause placebo effect
4. Endocannabinoids ?the brains cannabis ?demonstrate novel modes of action to stress
5. Animal models show that anabolic steroids flip the adolescent brains switch for aggression
6. Both alcoholism and chronic smoking can damage the brains prefrontal cortex
7. Tiny RNA molecules fine-tune the brains synapses
8. Aggression-related gene weakens brains impulse control circuits
9. Oops! Researchers publish new findings on the brains response to costly mistakes
10. Flick of whiskers helps tease out brains shadow signaling system
11. The brains motivation station
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/7/2016)... June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San ... relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature ... This collaboration will result in greater convenience for ... union, while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance ... ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost ... to a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global ... By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", ... 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing security ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... -- Elevay is currently known as the ... high net worth professionals seeking travel for work   ... there is still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. ... deal with a firm handshake. This is why wealthy ... citizenship via investment programs like those offered by the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for ... Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to ... are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: