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Affective Control of Decision Making

Project description

The participation of the amygdala in decisions

How animals process information and the decisions they make don’t always result in the best outcome. A bad decision could result in death while the right decision will ensure survival. Decision-making is a complex process in which the amygdala, widely considered one of the principle brain structures, plays a central role in guiding choice. The EU-funded ACoDM project will study role of the amygdalostriatal projection (basal amygdala to dorsomedial striatum, DMS), and the synaptic mechanisms underlying the interaction of this input with the well-known corticostriatal pathway (prelimbic cortex, PrL to DMS). The findings will shed new light on the participation of the amygdala.


The environment is an ever changing system to which an animal has to properly respond in order to survive. Decisions are made in unfamiliar situations, where risk assessment critically impacts the decision making; or based on previous experience, where the animal has prior knowledge of possible outcomes. Decision making is a complex process that requires the interplay of multiple neural structures and constant re-evaluation of the outcomes that involve emotional factors. The brain structure most linked to emotion and affective behaviour is the amygdala and its aberrant function caused by lesions or neurodegenerative diseases is associated with impaired decision-making.
The proposed research aims to understand the affective aspects of circuit mechanisms underlying decision making. Specifically, the role of an understudied pathway, the amygdalostriatal projection (basal amygdala, BA to dorsomedial striatum, DMS), in decision making; and the synaptic mechanisms underlying the interaction of this input with the well-known corticostriatal pathway (prelimbic cortex, PrL to DMS). Thus, a first goal aims to reveal the function of the BA inputs to DMS in an approach-avoidance conflict and to assess the association of neural activity with decision making behaviour. The second goal aims to uncover circuit mechanisms underlying the control of DMS neuron spiking by the amygdalostriatal pathway and how the cortical and amygdalar inputs impact each other in controlling the DMS activity.
These experiments will reveal the role of BA projection in decision-making at DMS level and how the PrL and BA inputs affect neuron activity at single cell level, results that can elucidate the role of the convergent amygdalostriatal and corticostriatal pathways in control of DMS function. Our findings will elucidate the participation of the amygdala in a functional circuit involving the DMS and uncover how it enables efficacious development of optimal strategies during decision making.

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Net EU contribution
€ 139 850,88
1083 Budapest

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Közép-Magyarország Budapest Budapest
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 139 850,88