The world is full of options. So how do we know which goal to pursue and how much effort to put in? And how can we keep track of our progress towards these goals? All these questions point to the action of one neurotransmitter in the brain: dopamine. Yes, dopamine has been previously linked to pleasure or “reward”. Dopamine is still widely believed to do all sorts of things such as getting people hooked on drugs or even cell phones. However, by now, it is well-established that altering dopamine in the brain does not change one’s pleasure in receiving rewards. Instead, dopamine comes into play whenever motivated behavior must be adjusted to pursue a goal.
Continue reading “Breaking the shackles of reward: dopamine’s role in exploration”
Every year during Peer Review Week, Publons celebrates the service of reviewers as #SentinelsofScience, who demonstrate their commitment to quality and integrity of scholarly publications. We are happy to announce that this year, Nils has won a Peer Review Award in the category Neuroscience & Behavior as one of the top 1% reviewers in the field. Congratulations!
For more information, check out his Publons profile.
Open Science! Chances are, you’ve already stumbled upon this term. But isn’t science always open by design because we publish our results, you might wonder. Unfortunately, it is not as open as it should be to allow for quality control measures. So let’s first have a look at the scientific process itself to see where it is open by default and where not.
Is openness an inherent part of the scientific process?
Scientist or not; everyone uses the scientific method to solve everyday problems. Why does your toast land on the buttered side when accidentally thrown off the table? Which apple do you pick from the pile in the supermarket? In such cases, you’ve made an observation or asked a question and most likely also formulated a hypothesis. For example, you may pick an apple that is firm, red and without any brown spots, because you act on the hypothesis that these characteristics signal good taste.
Continue reading “Science out in the open”
It is a pleasure for us to announce that we have a new member in our team. A student supported by the RISE (Research in Science and Engineering) program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was successfully placed in our group.
Naria Quazi is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Studying Neurobiology and Psychology at her home university, Naria has a fascination with how the brain works both at the molecular and behavioral level. Naria will be joining neuroMADLAB for the summer of 2018.