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Lentils or pasta? Why small decisions feel as tough as big ones in this time of crisis. Check out the article here!

Congratulations to Ellen Tedeschi who successfully defended her dissertation on Friday titled: "Knowledge for the Sake of Knowledge: Understanding the Relationship Between Curiosity, Exploration, and Reward." 

Choosing between two items involves deliberation and comparison of the features of each item and its value. Such decisions take more time when choosing between options of similar value, possibly because these decisions require more evidence, but the mechanisms involved are not clear. We propose that the hippocampus supports deliberation about value, given its well-known role in prospection and relational cognition. We assessed the role of the hippocampus in deliberation in two experiments. First, using fMRI in healthy participants, we found that BOLD activity in the hippocampus increased as a function of deliberation time. Second, we found that patients with hippocampal damage exhibited more stochastic choices and longer reaction times than controls, possibly due to their failure to construct value based on internal evidence during deliberation. Both sets of results were stronger in value-based decisions compared to perceptual decisions.

It’s no secret that the teen brain is unique, and recent research from Daphna Shohamy, a neuroscientist at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, has confirmed striking differences in the brains of adolescents as compared to adults.

These differences shed light on the biology behind their reward-seeking behavior, and reveal that it actually evolved to help teens navigate the world around them during a pivotal time in their lives.

As millions of teens head back to the classroom, discover what the latest research into the adolescent brain reveals about how teens learn and interact with their environment — and whether this knowledge could help teachers better understand their students.

Congratulations to Dr. Erin Kendall Braun and Dr. Raphael Gerraty for successfully defending your dissertations!