Performing any action, we – consciously or not – expect a reward. It is programmed by evolution: if something is good for us, or descendants, are activated in the brain responsible for reward zone, and we experience pleasure.
This system helped our ancestors survive: they remember a positive experience to repeat it again. So fixed behavior useful for survival.
meanwhile, in the modern world, affluent and comfortable, people often make impulsive decisions. At the same time our brain also evaluates the available options from the point of view of their benefits – remuneration, which you can get for them.
the Response to different types of rewards is encoded by the activity of different brain structures. It is known that in the processing of information about a possible reward involved, including basal ganglia – clusters of subcortical nuclei of the brain responsible for motor and Executive functioning. The basal ganglia are located right in the center of the brain belong to the limbic system.
However, until recently, remained unknown how the activity of the basal ganglia depends on the type of proposed awards.
to find the answer, scientists from the Higher school of Economics, and SKOLKOVO Institute of science and technology, together with canadian colleagues from the University of York conducted a meta-analysis of studies involving more than five and a half thousand people. All volunteers were over 18, had mental disorders and addictions.
In the selected work using functional magnetic resonance imaging recorded the activity of various parts of the brain in response to information about rewards – food, sex or money.
109 research has been devoted to money. In most of these subjects needed as quickly as possible press the button to get more or lose less money. In other studies, participants played an economic game with the ability to gain or lose money. In 34 studies of voluntaryICAM were asked to look at erotic pictures, or videos. At this time, recorded the activity of their brains and then were compared with the data of those subjects who watched the neutral content images and videos. In the remaining 47 participants received sweet reward.
after Analyzing these data, scientists have concluded that all types of remuneration activated different nuclei of the basal ganglia.
According to associate Professor of the Department of psychology Marie Arsalidou, in response to a food reward involved mainly the nucleus, located in the right hemisphere of the brain, to erotic – right outer pale ball and the left caudate body, and money – all nuclei of the basal ganglia, including the nucleus accumbens.
Based on these data, scientists have proposed a new model of processing information about the rewards. It suggests that the basal ganglia play a key role in this system.
the Basal ganglia play a key role in the reward system, and their connection with other parts of the brain depends on the type of rewards, researchers found.Illustration M. Arsalidou et al. / Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2020 / Springer Nature / translated “Conduct.Science”.
Interestingly, in addition to the basal ganglia were included and other structures of the brain, and their activation depended on what kind of award was received by the subjects. So when taking food and the viewing of erotica was activated the left thalamus, and in reward of the right. (That the thalamus selects which stimuli demand our attention).
in addition, delicious food activated the right island (it combines information from emotions, reflections and sensations of the internal organs) and the wall – region, which is associated with conscious perception.
Erotic pictures and videos have activated the fusiform gyrus, which is responsible for imagination, and amygdala the answerstvenno for assigning emotional values to different incentives.
Finally, monetary reward activated the frontal areas of the neocortex. This region of the cerebral cortex which are most developed in humans and are responsible in particular for deliberate thinking and speech.
Understanding what brain structures are involved in the assessment of different rewards, allows to understand the mechanisms of human decision-making – from choosing a candy bar instead of a healthy Breakfast to participate in certain investment transactions, explain the study authors.
in addition, such studies can be useful in creating artificial intelligence with the human reward system. In this case, his actions will be determined not only by the algorithms and commands, but also the opportunity to receive the award, which may increase its effectiveness.
Article on the outcome of this work is published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.
by the Way, before “News.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) told that the sugar affects the reward system in the brain just like drugs, and religion activates the same brain areas, and gambling.