For those who have wondered why they like or dislike certain things, or how they decide what to order from a menu, a team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder says its dopamine.
A CU-Boulder team studying Parkinsons disease patients found strong evidence that dopamine in the brain plays a key role in how people implicitly learn to make choices that lead to good outcomes, while avoiding bad ones. The finding could help researchers understand more about how the brain works and could lead to a better understanding and treatment of brain disorders like schizophrenia, according to CU-Boulder psychology graduate student Michael Frank, who led the study.
A paper on the subject by Frank, CU-Boulder psychology Associate Professor Randall OReilly and Lauren Seeberger of the Colorado Neurological Institutes Movement Disorders Center appears in the Nov. 5 issue of Science Express, an online version of Science magazine. Often people will get a "gut feeling" that allows them to make a choice depending on how often it was associated with positive outcomes in the past. But people with Parkinsons disease often have difficulty making these kinds of choices, Frank said.
Randall O’Reilly | EurekAlert!
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