Washington: A new study by investigators at the University of Michigan and Eli Lilly may reveal the "switch" that helps our brains to make the shift from current behaviours to new ones.They measured levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is involved in attention and memory, while rats monitored a screen for a signal. At the end of each trial, the rat had to indicate if a signal had occurred.Researchers noticed that if a signal occurred after a long period of monitoring or "non-signal" processing, there was a spike in acetylcholine in the rat`s right prefrontal cortex. No such spike occurred for another signal occurring shortly afterwards."In other words, the increase in acetylcholine seemed to activate or `switch on` the response to the signal, and to be unnecessary if that response was already activated," said Cindy Lustig, one of the study`s senior authors and an associate professor in the U-M Department of Psychology.
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