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newwaybraincommunicates_500x409.jpgDr. Timothy Verstynen and Kevin Jarbo, a Ph.D. student in psychology have identified a new pathway by which several brain areas communicate within the brain’s striatum.

Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the findings illustrate structural and functional connections that allow the brain to use reinforcement learning to make spatial decisions, such as the dorsolateral prefrontal (DLPFC), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). Communication between these regions is important for abilities like how a baseball player is able to estimate where to swing his bat or how a person finds a car in a large parking lot filled with similar cars.

Knowing how these specific pathways work together provides crucial insight into how learning occurs. It also could lead to improved treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Read More…