What happens in our brain when we study it?

How about ordering food at a new restaurant tonight? This solution may not sound like much, but it involves very specific processes for your brain, the new work is detailed in the eLife review. Delayed heart rate, dilated pupils, specific brain waves, and reduced confidence in our choices, research causes our brains to pay much more attention to the environment than usual.

Heart, pupils, brain: the body reacts to the development of something new

Imagine being in a car where you hesitate to change your way home from work to try a “traditional” baguette from a new bakery. So you find yourself in the middle of an explore-exploit dilemma where “exploiting” your regular bakery will give you bread of known quality and predictable traffic, while exploring a new counter will only give you unknowns – positive or negative. Expecting a pleasant surprise, you are about to set out on a reconnaissance mission. Seconds before making a decision, your brain removes alpha waves from your visual system, the characteristic effect of constant attention, explains Science et Avenir Valentin Wyart, who led this work. Then, as you nibble on the stub of your new wand, your brain is alert: did you make the right choice? Your heart rate slows down a bit, with a delay in its beats. Your pupils are dilating, an indirect sign that your brain has probably activated. your noradrenergic system. The latter is especially localized in the blue spot, in the region of the brain. which releases norepinephrine, a neurohormone responsible for attention.

Distinguish the signature of the study from the signature of the resulting behavioral change.

These discoveries were made by a team in the laboratory through an innovative and carefully calibrated methodology.

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