Today we discuss two questions from a listener about the hippocampus and mirror neurons:

1. What is the main purpose of the hippocampus in the limbic area?
Some interesting research touching on the hippocampus:
  1. By increasing the excitability of a subpopulation of “defective” inhibitory neurons, researchers at the University of Geneva could restore the synchronization of neural networks in the hippocampus, and able to suppress certain behavioural symptoms associated with schizophrenia. https://www.thescienceofpsychotherapy.com/resynchronizing-neurons-to-erase-schizophrenia/
  2. Another recent study has found certain cells in the hippocampus fire when we are anxious (or is it that they fire and we become anxious?), https://www.thescienceofpsychotherapy.com/anxiety-cells-identified-brains-hippocampus/ so we have the hippocampus playing a role in regulating emotions – we know the ventral part of the hippocampus can also down regulate anxiety. “By turning the anxiety cells off and on using a technique called optogenetics that allows scientists to control the activity of neurons using beams of light, the researchers found that the anxiety cells control anxiety behaviors. When the cells were silenced, the mice stopped producing fear-related behaviors, wandering onto elevated platforms and away from protective walls. When the anxiety cells were stimulated, the mice exhibited more fear behaviors even when they were in “safe” surroundings.”
  3. Here’s something we didn’t get to touch on in the podcast but very interesting nevertheless – Adult human brains don’t grow new neurons in hippocampus, contrary to prevailing view > https://www.thescienceofpsychotherapy.com/adult-human-brains-dont-grow-new-neurons-hippocampus-contrary-prevailing-view/

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2. What is the function of Mirror Neurons when we analyse art?

Richard talked about his experience of movement perception by looking at a Picasso – Let us know about your experiences, and certainly contact us if you are a researcher in this area and can let us know more info!

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