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Week 2: A Fascinating Discussion About the Brain

Mar 20, 2021

Hey guys! This week was exciting as I met the rest of the lab team as well as had my first group lab meeting.  All of the lab team’s projects sound fascinating and I’m grateful I get to work on more than one. 

At the lab meeting we discussed an article that was studying whether the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), which is a part of the brain, was responsible for sign tracking. Sign tracking is a type of learning where the individual gravitates toward the stimulus because it is associated with a reward. People with addictions can be considered sign trackers because they gravitate towards an abused substance which supplies them with a reward, in this case an increase in dopamine. The article found that the OFC did in fact play a role in this associative learning, which negated previous studies showing there was not necessarily a correlation between motivational behavior and the OFC.

This meeting was unlike articles discussions I have had at school, where everybody contributes to the analysis. Instead, one person presented the article while everyone else posed questions regarding the procedure and results. It was different but I really enjoyed how much I learned from the experience.

Next week I will most likely begin monitoring and observing rat behavior because I finished reading over safety protocols and am now preparing for my transition into the lab! Stay tuned!

4 Replies to “Week 2: A Fascinating Discussion About the Brain”

  1. Maria T. says:

    That sounds really cool! How is the person who is presenting the article decided? Do you think since only one person presents the article it can be misinterpreted?

    1. Eric M. says:

      Scientific articles are usually direct and to the point. In principle, science is empirical so the results will point to a conclusion. If there’s any interpretation necessary, the authors will do it for you.

      This is what makes reading papers one of the best ways to get immersed in the research field! I recall doing a similar exercise in my own past research, and it’s a great way to make sure you understand it, and why the results are meaningful. Could you tell us about an article you’ve read?

  2. trischaust says:

    Monali,
    One of the benefits of senior internships is gaining real world experience and seeing how this organization shares articles with the team is a great learning! I’m wondering whether you preferred the article presentation method to what you experienced at BIM or was it just different?
    Mrs. Aust

    1. Monali G. says:

      I think each experience taught me different things, so I don’t think I have a preference!

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