Research press release


Nature Communications

Neuroscience: How humans learn by observing



今回Michael Hillたちは、カードゲームを行っている10人の脳の単一ニューロン記録を行って解析した。このゲームでは、被験者は2つの山のどちらかからカードを引くが、一方の山は高率(70%)に勝ちカードを含み、他方の山は低率(30%)にしか含まない。被験者は、自分でカードを引き、また他人が引くのを見る。従って、自分の経験による学習も、他人を観察することによる学習も行える。ゲーム中の単一細胞電極記録では、扁桃体と吻側内側前頭前皮質のニューロンは勝敗に応答した。しかし、吻側前帯状皮質のニューロンは、自分で選択したときか他人の選択を観察したときかによって異なる応答を示した。


The region of the human brain where computations take place during observational learning is uncovered in research published in Nature Communications this week.

Humans can learn by observing the consequences of an action taken by another human being. Previous research has demonstrated that there are three main brain areas involved in the social and reward processes that underlie social learning: the amygdala, rostromedial prefrontal cortex, and rostral anterior cingulate cortex. However, it was not known how individual neurons in these areas responded to learning alone versus learning by watching another person.

Michael Hill and colleagues analysed single-neuron recordings from the brains of ten people playing a card game. In this game, people could draw a card from one of two decks, one of which had a high percentage of winning cards (70%), and one of which had a low percentage of winning cards (30%). People drew cards themselves and also watched other people choosing the cards from the same two decks, and so were able to learn both from their own experience and from watching others. The single-cell electrode recordings taken during this game show that although neurons in the amygdala and rostromedial prefrontal cortex respond to winning or losing, only the neurons in the rostral anterior cingulated cortex encoded these outcomes differently when people made their own choices versus watching other people make their choices.

Taken together, these results provide the first single-cell evidence for the specific role of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex in observational learning.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms12722

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