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Volume 21 Issue 11, November 2018

Volume 21 Issue 11

The importance of being social

The cover artwork depicts the moment when an animal reaches a crossroads and is presented with a mutually exclusive choice. The darker path leads to relapse and being trapped in the endless cycle of drug addiction. The lighter path leads to abstinence from drug use, supported by a waiting “friend rat” and eventual freedom from addiction. This graphic is a metaphor for social-based contingency management treatment, in which alternative social supports are used as incentive to choose abstinence rather than drug use. Venniro et al. highlight the need for incorporating social factors into neuroscience-based addiction research by demonstrating that volitional social interaction prevents drug addiction and incubation of craving in rat models.

See Venniro et al.

Image: Marco Venniro. Cover Design: Marina Corral Spence.

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    What you choose depends on what information your brain considers and what it neglects when computing the value of actions. An early theory used this insight for a computational account of habits versus deliberation. It has ultimately helped uncover how choice in the brain goes beyond such simple dichotomies.

    • Nathaniel D. Daw
  • News & Views |

    Two recent studies have expanded our understanding of the circuits controlling urination: one described a projection from brainstem to spinal cord that relaxes the urethral sphincter, and the other revealed a subpopulation of brainstem-projecting layer 5 pyramidal neurons in primary motor cortex that direct the initiation of urination.

    • Zheyi Ni
    • Hailan Hu
  • News & Views |

    A new theory derives the sequential nature of hippocampal replay from first principles and, moreover, predicts the specific patterns of replay that are actually observed in multiple different experiments.

    • John Widloski
    • David J. Foster

Review Articles

  • Review Article |

    Somatic mutations occur after fertilization and are present in only some cells of an individual. Somatic mutations contribute to normal and abnormal brain development, including neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder.

    • Alissa M. D’Gama
    • Christopher A. Walsh

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