Threat or Reward?

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Submitted by Praneeth Namburi and Sarah Halbert in the Tye Lab at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT

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This image shows a neuron (blue) in the a region of the brain known as the basolateral amygdala. In green, it shows axon fibers that carry auditory information to the basolateral amygdala from a region of the brain known as the thalamus. Inputs from the auditory thalamus to the basolateral amydala are modulated by learning whether a sound is predictive of threat or reward. I am interested in how the brain learns whether a stimulus is predictive of threat or reward and choose[s] the appropriate behavior.