The Human Basolateral Amygdala Is Indispensable for Social Experiential Learning

Journal: Current Biology

Published: 2019-10-21

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.078

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 7

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Research Highlight

The brain region responsible for trust

© Westend61/Getty

© Westend61/Getty

A brain region known as the basolateral amygdala (BLA) plays an essential role in determining whom we trust.

People learn whom they can trust and whom they should be wary of through social interactions. Experiments on mice have shown that the BLA is important in learning from social interactions, but it was not known whether the human BLA plays a similar role.

A team that included four researchers from the University of Cape Town has now shown that the human BLA is indispensable in this learning process.

They compared the social learning behaviors of people with damaged and healthy BLAs as they played an investment game that involves the development of trust. The team found that, in contrast to the subjects with healthy BLAs, the subjects with damaged BLAs did not vary their investments based on whether their partner was trustworthy or not.

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  1. Current Biology 29, 3532–3537 (2019). doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.078
Institutions Share
MRC Unit on Risk an​​d Resilience in Mental Disorders, South Africa 0.40
University of Vienna, Austria 0.29
University of London - Royal Holloway (RHUL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.14
Utrecht University (UU), Netherlands 0.12
University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa 0.05