Brain's competitive region revealed

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 09:30 in Psychology & Sociology

The researchers discovered neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex appear to store information on whether a course of action demands competition, what the intensity of that competition will be, and critically, whether or not the competition is ‘worth it’ to achieve an end reward.  Image: stefanschurr/iStockphoto While most of us have been wrapped up in the competitive spirit of the Olympic Games, two University of Otago researchers have been busy teasing out what exactly in the brain drives competitive behaviour.Dr Kristin Hillman and Professor David Bilkey, both from the Department of Psychology, have found that neurons in a specific region of the frontal cortex, called the anterior cingulate cortex, become active during decisions involving competitive effort.The researchers have discovered that neurons in this region appear to store information on whether a course of action demands competition, what the intensity of that competition will be, and critically, whether or not the competition is...

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