JNeurosci: Highlights from the March 8 issue
Check out these newsworthy studies from the March 8, 2017, issue of JNeurosci. Media interested in obtaining the full text of the studies should contact [email protected]
Using the Brain to Predict How People Respond to Negative Experiences
How we choose to respond to stressful experiences can influence their impact on our well-being. Researchers have now developed a model that can predict with good accuracy whether an individual will choose to control his or her emotional response to a disturbing scene. In a small neuroimaging study, participants viewed images of negative stimuli, such as acts of aggression or transportation accidents, while their brain activity was measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Activity in the amygdala and parts of the prefrontal cortex was used to identify those participants who would later choose to change the way they think about negative stimuli to counter their troubling feelings about the scene. The researchers also used a whole-brain pattern that, across participants, could predict which images were likely to spur emotion regulation. The researchers suggest their work could help improve our understanding of how people cope with distressing experiences.
Rodents and Monkeys Share Memory Mechanism
Nonhuman primates have considerably greater memory capacity than rodents. However, it is unclear whether the underlying mechanisms of information storage are similar in different species. In a new study, researchers trained rhesus macaques to forage for food in real-world and virtual environments. Comparing the monkeys' neuronal activity in the hippocampus to similar data from rodents, they find that the number of neurons encoding specific memories is consistent between the two species. This result supports the hypothesis that evolution may have selected for an optimal number of neurons needed to encode stable memories and that this has been conserved in distantly-related mammals.
Corresponding author: Carol Barnes, [email protected]
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.