Focus |

From Brain to Behaviour

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Sleep is composed of a number of different stages, each associated with a different pattern of brain activity. Here, using a data-driven Hidden Markov Model (HMM) of fMRI data, the authors discover a more complex set of neural activity states underlying the conventional stages of non-REM sleep.

    • A. B. A. Stevner
    • , D. Vidaurre
    • , J. Cabral
    • , K. Rapuano
    • , S. F. V. Nielsen
    • , E. Tagliazucchi
    • , H. Laufs
    • , P. Vuust
    • , G. Deco
    • , M. W. Woolrich
    • , E. Van Someren
    •  &  M. L. Kringelbach
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    We can recognize an object from one of its features, e.g. hearing a bark leads us to think of a dog. Here, the authors show using fMRI that the brain combines bits of information into object representations, and that presenting a few features of an object activates representations of its other attributes.

    • Sasa L. Kivisaari
    • , Marijn van Vliet
    • , Annika Hultén
    • , Tiina Lindh-Knuutila
    • , Ali Faisal
    •  &  Riitta Salmelin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in reproductive and social behavior, but the role of oxytocin-related genes in the human brain remains unclear. Here, the authors map oxytocin pathway gene expression and show that it overlaps with brain regions involved in reward and emotional states.

    • Daniel S. Quintana
    • , Jaroslav Rokicki
    • , Dennis van der Meer
    • , Dag Alnæs
    • , Tobias Kaufmann
    • , Aldo Córdova-Palomera
    • , Ingrid Dieset
    • , Ole A. Andreassen
    •  &  Lars T. Westlye
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It has proven difficult to measure the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, in the human brain. Here, the authors introduce and validate a new method that infers dopamine release based on minute-by-minute fluctuations of the positron emission tomography (PET) radioligand [11C]raclopride.

    • Rachel N. Lippert
    • , Anna Lena Cremer
    • , Sharmili Edwin Thanarajah
    • , Clio Korn
    • , Thomas Jahans-Price
    • , Lauren M. Burgeno
    • , Marc Tittgemeyer
    • , Jens C. Brüning
    • , Mark E. Walton
    •  &  Heiko Backes
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The influence of 'fake news’, spread via social media, has been much discussed in the context of the 2016 US presidential election. Here, the authors use data on 30 million tweets to show how content classified as fake news diffused on Twitter before the election.

    • Alexandre Bovet
    •  &  Hernán A. Makse
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    How are abstract, imperceptible concepts such as ‘freedom’ represented in the brain? Here, the authors use fMRI in people born blind to compare the neural responses for abstract concepts, concrete concepts like ‘rainbow’ which in blind people lack sensory qualities, and concrete concepts sensorily accessible to the blind.

    • Ella Striem-Amit
    • , Xiaoying Wang
    • , Yanchao Bi
    •  &  Alfonso Caramazza
  • Nature Communications | Review Article | open

    Transcranial electrical stimulation techniques, such as tDCS and tACS, are popular tools for neuroscience and clinical therapy, but how low-intensity current might modulate brain activity remains unclear. In this review, the authors review the evidence on mechanisms of transcranial electrical stimulation.

    • Anli Liu
    • , Mihály Vöröslakos
    • , Greg Kronberg
    • , Simon Henin
    • , Matthew R. Krause
    • , Yu Huang
    • , Alexander Opitz
    • , Ashesh Mehta
    • , Christopher C. Pack
    • , Bart Krekelberg
    • , Antal Berényi
    • , Lucas C. Parra
    • , Lucia Melloni
    • , Orrin Devinsky
    •  &  György Buzsáki
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Forgetting is ubiquitous across the animal kingdom, but neuroscience is only beginning to address its mechanisms. This study shows that rats, like humans, actively forget memories that interfere with retrieval, and that this retrieval-induced forgetting requires the prefrontal cortex.

    • Pedro Bekinschtein
    • , Noelia V. Weisstaub
    • , Francisco Gallo
    • , Maria Renner
    •  &  Michael C. Anderson
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Previous work has shown that the thalamic nucleus reuniens (RE) is involved in memory and emotion. Here the authors report that the RE and its inputs from the medial prefrontal cortex are indispensable for the top-down inhibition of fear memories after extinction.

    • Karthik R. Ramanathan
    • , Jingji Jin
    • , Thomas F. Giustino
    • , Martin R. Payne
    •  &  Stephen Maren
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Olfaction, the sense of smell, may have originally evolved to aid navigation in space, but there is no direct evidence of a link between olfaction and navigation in humans. Here the authors show that olfaction and spatial memory abilities are correlated and rely on similar brain regions in humans.

    • Louisa Dahmani
    • , Raihaan M. Patel
    • , Yiling Yang
    • , M. Mallar Chakravarty
    • , Lesley K. Fellows
    •  &  Véronique D. Bohbot
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    It is believed that fast “ripple” oscillations in the hippocampus play a role in consolidation, a process by which memory traces are stabilized. Here, the authors show that ripples occuring during non-REM sleep trigger “replay” of brain activity associated with previously experienced stimuli.

    • Hui Zhang
    • , Juergen Fell
    •  &  Nikolai Axmacher
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Attractor dynamics have been discovered in neural circuits, but it is not clear if they exist at the level of whole-brain activity. Here, the authors show that certain brain regions act as nodes in which many activity ‘streams’ converge, regardless of brain state. These regions show distinctive gene expression.

    • Ibai Diez
    •  &  Jorge Sepulcre
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Reverse correlation is a psychophysics technique used to infer sensory filter properties by measuring how changes in stimuli influence behavior. Here, the authors show that reverse correlation is shaped by both sensory and decision-making processes, and validate a method to partition their contributions.

    • Gouki Okazawa
    • , Long Sha
    • , Braden A. Purcell
    •  &  Roozbeh Kiani
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    When tracking a moving object, our eyes make smooth pursuit movements; however, tracking an imaginary object produces jerky saccadic eye movements. Here, the authors show that during lucid dreams, the eyes smoothly follow dreamed objects. In this respect, dream imagery is more similar to perception than imagination.

    • Stephen LaBerge
    • , Benjamin Baird
    •  &  Philip G. Zimbardo
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    People insulate themselves against negative social feedback via self-protective behaviors. Here, the authors show that early adolescents react against immediate social feedback, but adults also consider accumulated past negative evaluations, a function mediated by the rostromedial prefrontal cortex (RMPFC).

    • Leehyun Yoon
    • , Leah H. Somerville
    •  &  Hackjin Kim
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Approaches describing how the brain changes to accomplish cognitive tasks tend to rely on collapsed data. Here, authors present a new approach that maintains high dimensionality and use it to describe individual differences in how brain activity is represented and organized across different cognitive tasks.

    • Manish Saggar
    • , Olaf Sporns
    • , Javier Gonzalez-Castillo
    • , Peter A. Bandettini
    • , Gunnar Carlsson
    • , Gary Glover
    •  &  Allan L. Reiss
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Though transcranial electric stimulation has been used to influence brain activity, it is debated whether neuronal spiking activity is directly affected by commonly-used protocols. Here, the authors quantify the voltage gradients necessary to instantaneously affect neuronal spiking and show that they are higher than commonly-used protocols.

    • Mihály Vöröslakos
    • , Yuichi Takeuchi
    • , Kitti Brinyiczki
    • , Tamás Zombori
    • , Azahara Oliva
    • , Antonio Fernández-Ruiz
    • , Gábor Kozák
    • , Zsigmond Tamás Kincses
    • , Béla Iványi
    • , György Buzsáki
    •  &  Antal Berényi
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Though we are often friends with people similar to ourselves, it is unclear if neural responses to perceptual stimuli are also similar. Here, authors show that the similarity of neural responses evoked by a range of videos was highest for close friends and decreased with increasing social distance.

    • Carolyn Parkinson
    • , Adam M. Kleinbaum
    •  &  Thalia Wheatley
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Trial and error learning requires the brain to generate expectations and match them to outcomes, yet whether this occurs for semantic learning is unclear. Here, authors show that the brain encodes the degree to which new factual information violates expectations, which in turn determines whether information is encoded in long-term memory.

    • Alex Pine
    • , Noa Sadeh
    • , Aya Ben-Yakov
    • , Yadin Dudai
    •  &  Avi Mendelsohn
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Punishment by peers can enforce social norms, such as contributing to a public good. Here, Abbink and colleagues show that individuals will enforce norms even when contributions reduce the net benefit of the group, resulting in the maintenance of wasteful contributions.

    • Klaus Abbink
    • , Lata Gangadharan
    • , Toby Handfield
    •  &  John Thrasher
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Ambiguous uncertainty refers to situations where the likelihood of specific outcomes are not known. Here, the authors show that people tolerant to ambiguous uncertainty are more likely to make costly decisions to cooperate with or trust others.

    • Marc-Lluís Vives
    •  &  Oriel FeldmanHall