Navigation Links
It's not solitaire: Brain activity differs when one plays against others
Date:2/6/2012

CHAMPAIGN, lll. Researchers have found a way to study how our brains assess the behavior and likely future actions of others during competitive social interactions. Their study, described in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to use a computational approach to tease out differing patterns of brain activity during these interactions, the researchers report.

"When players compete against each other in a game, they try to make a mental model of the other person's intentions, what they're going to do and how they're going to play, so they can play strategically against them," said University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Kyle Mathewson, who conducted the study as a doctoral student in the Beckman Institute with graduate student Lusha Zhu and economics professor and Beckman affiliate Ming Hsu, who now is at the University of California, Berkeley. "We were interested in how this process happens in the brain."

Previous studies have tended to consider only how one learns from the consequences of one's own actions, called reinforcement learning, Mathewson said. These studies have found heightened activity in the basal ganglia, a set of brain structures known to be involved in the control of muscle movements, goals and learning. Many of these structures signal via the neurotransmitter dopamine.

"That's been pretty well studied and it's been figured out that dopamine seems to carry the signal for learning about the outcome of our own actions," Mathewson said. "But how we learn from the actions of other people wasn't very well characterized."

Researchers call this type of learning "belief learning."

To better understand how the brain processes information in a competitive setting, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track activity in the brains of participants while they played a competitive game, called a Patent Race, against other players. The goal of the game was to invest more than one's opponent in each round to win a prize (a patent worth considerably more than the amount wagered), while minimizing one's own losses (the amount wagered in each trial was lost). The fMRI tracked activity at the moment the player learned the outcome of the trial and how much his or her opponent had wagered.

A computational model evaluated the players' strategies and the outcomes of the trials to map the brain regions involved in each type of learning.

"Both types of learning were tracked by activity in the ventral striatum, which is part of the basal ganglia," Mathewson said. "That's traditionally known to be involved in reinforcement learning, so we were a little bit surprised to see that belief learning also was represented in that area."

Belief learning also spurred activity in the rostral anterior cingulate, a structure deep in the front of the brain. This region is known to be involved in error processing, regret and "learning with a more social and emotional flavor," Mathewson said.

The findings offer new insight into the workings of the brain as it is engaged in strategic thinking, Hsu said, and may aid the understanding of neuropsychiatric illnesses that undermine those processes.

"There are a number of mental disorders that affect the brain circuits implicated in our study," Hsu said. "These include schizophrenia, depression and Parkinson's disease. They all affect these dopaminergic regions in the frontal and striatal brain areas. So to the degree that we can better understand these ubiquitous social functions in strategic settings, it may help us understand how to characterize and, eventually, treat the social deficits that are symptoms of these diseases."


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Why Human Brains Are Smarter Than Chimp Brains
2. Mouse Study Suggests Alzheimers Spreads Through Brain Like an Infection
3. New Anti-Clotting Drug May Cut Brain Bleeding Risk: Study
4. Alzheimers-Linked Brain Plaques May Affect Memory in Healthy People
5. Study Finds Link Between Heart Failure, Brain Changes
6. Adult Children of Stroke Sufferers May Show Signs of Brain Aging, Too
7. Scientists Use Brain Waves to Eavesdrop on the Mind
8. A thought-provoking new therapeutic target for brain cancer?
9. Decaffeinated coffee preserves memory function by improving brain energy metabolism
10. Cancer sequencing initiative discovers mutations tied to aggressive childhood brain tumors
11. Diagnostic brain tumor test could revolutionize care of patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
It's not solitaire: Brain activity differs when one plays against others
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... June 26, 2017 , ... ... leakage is revolutionizing the way women look and feel about themselves and their ... of female sexual dysfunction and urinary leakage head on with a ground breaking ...
(Date:6/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2017 , ... KICKICO ... a whitepaper that pledges to solve many catastrophic issues within funding campaigns. KICKICO ... , The typical notion of crowdfunding - the raising of funds through the power ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... , ... June 24, 2017 , ... Create a feel-good lyric music video in Final ... and sound in the timeline and write in the lyrics to any song. ProLyric flies ... out. Each line of the text can be added modularly for optimal control. ProLyric makes ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... CareSet Labs released the Root NPI Graph today at the ... greatly improved version of the Doctor Referral teaming dataset commonly available from Medicare. , ... called the the “Doctor Referral Dataset” as released by Medicare and “DocGraph” as released ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... Tampa, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2017 ... ... Fla., is now offering genetic testing for medications in select Florida and Texas ... of pharmacogenomics. , This new application of genetic testing recognizes the role ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/14/2017)... 2017 The Bio Supply Management Alliance (BSMA) ... Fremont and the Biomedical Manufacturing Network to ... California by providing a platform ... fostering workforce development. The primary focus of this alliance ... as well as small and mid-sized biomedical companies. ...
(Date:6/13/2017)... June 13, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE ... announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ... 2015 relating to its Zhejiang, China ... "The successful clearance of the Warning Letter related ... facility is a measure of the progress we have made ...
(Date:6/11/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ... studies of galcanezumab, an investigational treatment for the prevention ... several key secondary endpoints for galcanezumab compared to placebo ... (EVOLVE-1, EVOLVE-2 and REGAIN) will be presented today at ... Boston . "The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: