No one quite understands the neuronal changes that govern reward-directed learning. A paper in this week’s Nature helps to clarify the synaptic mechanisms involved.
Patricia Janak and colleagues trained rats to self-administer a sugar reward. They showed that reward learning depends on increased activity and synaptic strength in the amygdala, a brain region important for emotional-based learning.
The level of learning attained by individual animals correlated well with the degree of synaptic strength enhancement ? enabling the team to identify a key mechanism that could underlie goal-directed behaviour.
Drug discovery: Two-drug strategy reduces alcohol intake in miceNature Communications
Palaeontology: Newly-hatched pterosaurs may have been able to flyScientific Reports
Archaeology: Roman road discovered in the Venice lagoonScientific Reports
COVID-19: Shielding may not be as effective as expectedScientific Reports