The findings could help researchers discover new ways to treat psychiatric disorders that feature impaired decision-making, such as depression, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.
Risky brain, safe brain: MIT charts neural pathways involved in decision-making
Every decision we take is influenced to some extent by emotion, and choices that offer both negative and positive elements – such as picking a higher paying but hazardous job or a safer but less profitable one – evoke them the most, particularly anxiety.
Researchers at MIT have now identified a neural circuit that they believe underpins decision-making in situations such as this, and have started looking into mice’s brains to better understand the biological processes that make us tick and help us pick.
They studied mice in five different types of behavioral experiments, including an approach-avoidance scenario: they had to choose between strong chocolate, which they like, and bright light, which they dislike, or dimmer light but weaker chocolate.