We Now Know How Our Brains Learn Basic Instincts

Posted: Jan 25 2017, 7:15am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

We Now Know How Our Brains Learn Basic Instincts
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A new study from Princeton University shows us how our brain reacts to situations to make split second decisions that keep us alive and healthy.

These findings could help us determine why certain people have addiction disorders and how to better treat mental disorders in which our perspectives are dysfunctional or fractured.

The study, which appears in the journal Neuron, looks at how we learn to pay attention so that we can make the most of life experiences. For example, we get cilantro on our salad one time and find out we don't like it so that next time we know what to do without thinking about it. Or how you can cross the street while looking for traffic without actively noticing the colors of the cars coming your way.

Participants in the study performed trial-and-error tasks while researchers scanned their brains using and fMRI. They found that selective attention is used to determine the value of different options. The results also showed that we learn when something unexpected happens. For example, if you take a bite of your salad and think it tastes like soap, your brain creates a feedback cycle that it engrains.

These findings could contribute to an improved teaching and learning process for additional and mental disorders.

“If we want to understand learning, we can’t ignore the fact that learning is almost always done in a multidimensional ‘cluttered’ environment,” says senior author Yael Niv, an associate professor in psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. “We want kids to listen to the teacher, but a lot is going on in the classroom — there is so much to look at inside it and out the window. So, it’s important to understand how exactly attention and learning interact and how they shape each other.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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