Science and Tech


Scientists Uncover What Part Of The Brain Makes Decisions

Researchers say one of the smallest parts of the brain plays a big role in helping us make decisions.
Posted at 2:33 PM, Nov 25, 2013

Scientists have decided which part of the brain decides on decisions. 

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say one of the smallest parts of the brain, the lateral habenula, plays a big role in helping us make decisions. 

RedOrbit points out the lateral habenula of the brain has been previously linked to depression and avoidance behaviors. Even though it's one of the oldest parts of the brain from an evolutionary standpoint, there's not much known about it. 

Researcher Stan Floresco notes how the study clears up how the brain is involved in daily decisions. "It also suggests that the scientific community has misunderstood the true functioning of this mysterious, but important, region of the brain." (Via Science Daily

The study monitored lab rats choosing between a reward of one food pellet and four food pellets. The small reward showed up more consistently, but the large reward appeared more randomly. Like humans, the rats went for the larger reward when risk-cost, or time to wait to eat, was lower, but opted for the small reward when risk-cost was higher. (Via Motherboard

The researchers say it could impact how doctors treat depression. The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.