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Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences

Natalie C Tronson
Recent work on sex differences in learning and memory has demonstrated that females and males differ in cognitive and behavioral strategies, as well as neural mechanisms required to learn, retrieve and express memory. Although our understanding of the mechanisms of memory is highly sophisticated, this work is based on male animals. As such, the study of female memory is narrowed to a comparison with behavior and mechanisms defined in males, resulting in findings of male-specific mechanisms but little understanding of how females learn and store information...
October 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Katherine N Wright, Mohamed Kabbaj
Sub-anesthetic ketamine produces rapid antidepressant effects in patients with bipolar and unipolar major depression where conventional monoaminergic-based antidepressant drugs have been ineffective or ridden with side effects. A single ketamine infusion can produce antidepressant effects lasting up to two weeks, and multiple ketamine infusions prolong this effect. Pre-clinical studies are underway to uncover ketamine's mechanisms of action, but there are still many questions unanswered regarding the safety of its long-term use...
October 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Brittany F Osborne, Alexandra Turano, Jaclyn M Schwarz
While sex differences in the peripheral immune response have been studied extensively, sex differences in the neuroimmune response, including glial activation and associated cytokine production in the brain, is a recently emerging field. Advances in our understanding of sex differences in the neuroimmune response have important implications for understanding how neural circuits are shaped during early brain development, how activation of the immune system may impact cognitive function and behavior, and how inflammation may be associated with the risk of mental health disorders that have strong sex-biases...
October 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Mary M Heitzeg, Jillian E Hardee, Adriene M Beltz
Adolescence is a period associated with the initiation and escalation of substance use and is also a time during which substantial changes take place in neural development, personality and behavior. Although rates of substance use between adolescent girls and boys do not differ substantially, there is evidence for sex differences in underlying vulnerability pathways associated with the development of substance use disorder. Here we review sex differences in adolescent brain development and how these differences may contribute to different risk pathways between females and males that emerge during this developmental period...
October 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Elisabeth G Vichaya, Robert Dantzer
Inflammation can profoundly impact motivated behavior, as is the case with inflammation-induced depression. By evaluating objectively measurable basic neurobehavioral processes involved in motivation, recent research indicates that inflammation generally reduces approach motivation and enhances avoidance motivation. Increased effort valuation largely mediates the effects of inflammation on approach motivation. Changes in reward valuation are not uniformly observed in approach motivation. However, inflammation increases the averseness of negative stimuli...
August 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Andrew Westbrook, Michael Frank
Cognitive control - the ability to override a salient or prepotent action to execute a more deliberate one - is required for flexible, goal-directed behavior, and yet it is subjectively costly: decision-makers avoid allocating control resources, even when doing so affords more valuable outcomes. Dopamine likely offsets effort costs just as it does for physical effort. And yet, dopamine can also promote impulsive action, undermining control. We propose a novel hypothesis that reconciles opposing effects of dopamine on cognitive control: during action selection, striatal dopamine biases benefits relative to costs, but does so preferentially for "proximal" motor and cognitive actions...
August 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Adam J Culbreth, Erin K Moran, Deanna M Barch
Motivational impairment has long been associated with schizophrenia but the underlying mechanisms are not clearly understood. Recently, a small but growing literature has suggested that aberrant effort-based decision-making may be a potential contributory mechanism for motivational impairments in psychosis. Specifically, multiple reports have consistently demonstrated that individuals with schizophrenia are less willing than healthy controls to expend effort to obtain rewards. Further, this effort-based decision-making deficit has been shown to correlate with severity of negative symptoms and level of functioning, in many but not all studies...
August 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Jessica A Cooper, Amanda R Arulpragasam, Michael T Treadway
Anhedonia is a severe condition that describes a near-complete absence of enjoyment, motivation, and interest. A core feature of depression, clinical manifestations of anhedonia can include deficits in experiencing pleasure, approach-related motivated behavior, and learning how to match expectations to the environment. To date, the precise neurobiological mechanisms of anhedonia in major depression are still poorly understood. We have previously argued that contradictory findings and the inability to identify specific neurobiological substrates for anhedonic symptoms may result from sample heterogeneity, suboptimal methods of assessment, and the challenge of dissociating between different components of anhedonia...
August 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Jeffrey J Olney, Shelley M Warlow, Erin E Naffziger, Kent C Berridge
Affective neuroscience research has revealed that reward contains separable components of 'liking', 'wanting', and learning. Here we focus on current 'liking' and 'wanting' findings and applications to clinical disorders. 'Liking' is the hedonic impact derived from a pleasant experience, and is amplified by opioid and related signals in discrete sites located in limbic-related brain areas. 'Wanting' refers to incentive salience, a motivation process for reward, and is mediated by larger systems involving mesocorticolimbic dopamine...
August 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Christopher I Petkov, William D Marslen-Wilson
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Yukiko Kikuchi, William Sedley, Timothy D Griffiths, Christopher I Petkov
Predicting the occurrence of future events from prior ones is vital for animal perception and cognition. Although how such sequence learning (a form of relational knowledge) relates to particular operations in language remains controversial, recent evidence shows that sequence learning is disrupted in frontal lobe damage associated with aphasia. Also, neural sequencing predictions at different temporal scales resemble those involved in language operations occurring at similar scales. Furthermore, comparative work in humans and monkeys highlights evolutionarily conserved frontal substrates and predictive oscillatory signatures in the temporal lobe processing learned sequences of speech signals...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Karen L Campbell, Lorraine K Tyler
While a long history of neuropsychological research places language function within a primarily left-lateralized frontotemporal system, recent neuroimaging work has extended this language network to include a number of regions traditionally thought of as 'domain-general'. These include dorsal frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobe regions known to underpin cognitive functions such as attention and memory. In this paper, we argue that these domain-general systems are not required for language processing and are instead an artefact of the tasks typically used to study language...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Asif A Ghazanfar, Diana A Liao
Human vocal development is typically conceived as a sequence of two processes-an early maturation phase where vocal sounds change as a function of body growth ("constraints") followed by a period during which social experience can influence vocal sound production ("flexibility"). However, studies of other behaviors (e.g., locomotion) reveal that growth and experience are interactive throughout development. As it turns out, vocal development is not exceptional; it is also the on-going result of the interplay between an infant's growing biological system of production (the body and the nervous system) and experience with caregivers...
June 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Dagmar Sternad
Mastering a motor skill is typified by a decrease in variability. However, variability is much more than the undesired signature of discoordination: structure in both its distributional properties and temporal sequence can reveal control priorities. Extending from the notion that signal-dependent noise corrupts information transmission in the neuromotor system, this review tracks more recent recognitions that the complex dynamic motor system in its interaction with task constraints creates high-dimensional spaces with multiple equivalent solutions...
April 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Melissa Malvaez, Kate M Wassum
Habits are an essential and pervasive component of our daily lives that allow us to efficiently perform routine tasks. But their disruption contributes to the symptoms that underlie many psychiatric diseases. Emerging data are revealing the cellular and molecular mechanisms of habit formation in the dorsal striatum. New data suggest that in both the dorsolateral and dorsomedial striatum histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity acts as a critical negative regulator of the transcriptional processes underlying habit formation...
April 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Marcello Maniglia, Aaron R Seitz
A hallmark of modern Perceptual Learning (PL) is the extent to which learning is specific to the trained stimuli. Such specificity to orientation, spatial location and even eye of training has been used as psychophysical evidence of the neural basis of learning. This argument that specificity of PL implies regionalization of brain plasticity implicitly assumes that examination of a singular locus of PL is an appropriate approach to understand learning. However, recent research shows that learning effects once thought to be specific depend on subtleties of the training paradigm and that within even a simple training procedure there are multiple aspects of the task and stimuli that are learned simultaneously...
April 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Justin O'Hare, Nicole Calakos, Henry H Yin
Habits have been studied for decades, but it was not until recent years that experiments began to elucidate the underlying cellular and circuit mechanisms. The latest experiments have been enabled by advances in cell-type specific monitoring and manipulation of activity in large neuronal populations. Here we will review recent efforts to understand the neural substrates underlying habit formation, focusing on rodent studies on corticostriatal circuits.
April 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Debbie M Yee, Todd S Braver
There is general agreement that both motivation and cognitive control play critical roles in shaping goal-directed behavior, but only recently has scientific interest focused around the question of motivation-control interactions. Here we briefly survey this literature, organizing contemporary findings around three issues: 1) whether motivation preferentially impacts cognitive control processes, 2) the neural mechanisms that underlie motivation-cognition interactions, and 3) why motivation might be relevant for overcoming the costs of control...
February 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
V Miskovic, A K Anderson
The pleasant or unpleasant qualities that attach to our perceptions help to determine whether we approach or avoid environmental stimuli, shaping their affordances. How do brains create this affective perceptual dimension? The traditional answer is that sensory areas serve only as conduits for external impressions that are then modulated by heteromodal limbic structures in subsequent phases. Here we raise the possibility that, in addition to these well established gain control effects, sensory systems might also have a more direct role in representing the pleasantness component of perception, as supported by several strands of recent brain imaging evidence...
February 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Luiz Pessoa
Emotional processing appears to be interlocked with perception, cognition, motivation, and action. These interactions are supported by the brain's large-scale non-modular anatomical and functional architectures. An important component of this organization involves characterizing the brain in terms of networks. Two aspects of brain networks are discussed: brain networks should be considered as inherently overlapping (not disjoint) and dynamic (not static). Recent work on multivariate pattern analysis shows that affective dimensions can be detected in the activity of distributed neural systems that span cortical and subcortical regions...
February 2018: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
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