About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Scientists Identify How Our Brains Help Us Deal With Change in Plans

by Rajashri on August 20, 2008 at 4:55 PM
Font : A-A+

 Scientists Identify How Our Brains Help Us Deal With Change in Plans

Two different brain regions are responsible for the way human beings deal with changes in their plans, researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have found.

Susan Courtney, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, has found that it is the prefrontal cortex, the very front area of the brain beneath the forehead, that enables people to hand complex sets of "if-then" rules governing the web of relationships between the items they want to buy, their driving route, their relationships with their spouses and employers, etc.

Advertisement

"This discovery may eventually lead to enhanced understanding of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder, all conditions in which a person's ability to remember and change such rules is impaired," said Courtney, lead author of a paper in a recent issue of Neuron.

The researchers used mental math tasks and functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate which areas of the brain are used for different functions.
Advertisement

Before beginning the study, participants memorized the numbers 47 and 53, and the operations (rules) "add" and "subtract".

The researchers have revealed that only one of the two numbers, and one of the two operations were relevant to any given trial.

The participants would begin by remembering either 47 or 53 and the instructions to either "add" or "subtract.", and then would be given a second number that they would add to or subtract from the first until instructed to make a change.

That change could involve keeping the add or subtract "rule" and switching the number, keeping the number and switching the rule, or switching both the beginning number and the "rule".

If both rules and numbers were held in the memory in the same way, said Courtney, there would be no difference in the pattern of activity when people were asked to switch up the rules compared to when they changed numbers, because both rules and numbers would be in the same place in memory.

However, the study showed that the prefrontal cortex became more active when participants had to switch rules, and a different part of the brain called the parietal cortex, which is near the back of the head, became more active when the participants were asked to switch numbers.

"This indicates that different parts of our brains store different kinds of memories and information," Courtney said.

"(That) provides clues about how the human brain accomplishes complex, goal-directed behaviours that require remembering and changing abstract rules, an ability that is disrupted in many mental illnesses," she added.

Source: ANI
RAS/L
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Recommended Reading
Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting approximately 340 million people in ...
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Brain Tumor
Brain tumors are the abnormal growth of brain cells that may be benign or metastatic. Brain tumors ....
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use