Humans explore the world by optimistically directing choices to less familiar options and by choosing more randomly when options are uncertain. Here, the authors show that these two exploration strategies rely on distinct uncertainty estimates represented in different parts of the prefrontal cortex.
From Brain to Behaviour
Brittany Cardwell: human behaviour.
Fiona Carr: neurological disease.
Sachin Ranade: systems and computational neuroscience.
Christian Schnell: neurophysiology and neurotechnologies.
Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage, 'From Brain to Behaviour'. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.
The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting neuroscience research published at Nature Communications.
Make sure to check the Editors' Highlights page each month for new featured articles.
People often prioritize their own interests, but also like to see themselves as moral. Here the authors show how distortions in memory might resolve this tension by demonstrating that people tend to remember being more generous in the past than they actually were.
Sleep-dependent memory consolidation in infants protects new episodic memories from existing semantic memories
In infants, superiority of semantic over episodic memory formation has been postulated. Here, authors show that both types of memory coexist in one-year-olds, with consolidation during sleep affecting whether an experienced event is recognized as a detailed episode or as general semantic knowledge.
The roots of psychopathology take shape during adverse parent-infant interactions, shown through infant attachment quality. Using rodents, the authors show that blunted infant cortical processing of the mother determines attachment quality through a stress hormone-dependent mechanism.
Beliefs that justify the economic system buffer against the aversive emotional impact of inequality. Here the authors show that system-justifying economic ideology predicts dampened negativity, measured using self-reported and physiological responses, to manifestations of poverty and wealth.
Confidence reports in decision-making with multiple alternatives violate the Bayesian confidence hypothesis
Conventional theory suggests that people’s confidence about a decision reflects their subjective probability that the decision was correct. By studying decisions with multiple alternatives, the authors show that confidence reports instead reflect the difference in probabilities between the chosen and the next-best alternative.
Visual cognition compensates for small changes in an object’s appearance to ensure its perceived continuity. We show that in situations with multiple objects, context features like color, temporal or spatial position are used as anchors to selectively integrate corresponding objects over time.
Previously only humans and the great apes have been shown to use probabilities to make predictions about uncertain events, and integrate social and physical information into their predictions. Here, the authors demonstrate these capacities in a parrot species, the kea.
Spatial contexts are often predictive of the tasks to be performed in them (e.g., a kitchen predicts cooking). Here the authors show that the retrieval of task demand when encountering a spatial context depends on hippocampal-prefrontal interactions.
A double-hit of stress and low-grade inflammation on functional brain network mediates posttraumatic stress symptoms
Low-grade systemic inflammation and stress increase vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders. Here, the authors show that inflammation and stress-induced changes in higher order cognitive networks increase vulnerability to posttraumatic stress disorder.