A new study identifies two genes which regulate how much we dream. The genes, Chrm1 and Chrm3, play a key role in regulating REM sleep and function in different ways.
To be successful as a social animal, you need to know where you stand relative to others. Brain cells that perform precisely this function—locating the ‘self’ and others in space—have now been identified. In rats, the same brain area that stores the animal’s own location also maps the movements of other rats. Sometimes these representations are processed jointly by the same cells, depending on a rat’s goals and actions. This discovery, from Japan’s RIKEN Brain Science Institute, deepens our understanding of the hippocampus and its role as the brain’s positioning system.
Emotional learning can create strong memories and powerful emotional responses, but flexible behavior demands that these responses be inhibited when they are no longer appropriate. Scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered that emotional and flexible learning rely on an important division of labor in the brain.