Imagining outcomes before deciding, research could explain what's going on in brain : The Tribune India

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Imagining outcomes before deciding, research could explain what's going on in brain

The findings are published in the journal Nature Neuroscience

Imagining outcomes before deciding, research could explain what's going on in brain

For the study, the researchers developed a model predicting brain activity during planning, Thinkstock



PTI

New Delhi, June 9

A new study has shed light on how the brain imagines future outcomes to guide decisions and researchers says a deeper understanding of these brain mechanisms could ultimately improve the treatment of disorders affecting decision-making abilities.

Researchers said that an interplay between the prefrontal cortex, important for planning and decision-making, and hippocampus, which helps form and store memories, allows us to imagine outcomes to help guide our decisions - similar to how a chess player envisions sequences of moves before committing to one.

"The prefrontal cortex acts as a 'simulator', mentally testing out possible actions using a cognitive map stored in the hippocampus," study author Marcelo Mattar, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Psychology, said.

"This research sheds light on the neural and cognitive mechanisms of planning - a core component of both human and animal intelligence. A deeper understanding of these brain mechanisms could ultimately improve the treatment of disorders affecting decision-making abilities," Mattar said.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

For the study, the researchers developed a model predicting brain activity during planning, which was corroborated using data from humans and laboratory rats. The model was based on an artificial neural network, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that learns complex patterns based on given data. 


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