Driving factors of behaviour

Name of study: Neurones in the brain drive competition and social behaviour By who and where: Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

Published: 03rd April 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2022 08:07 PM   |  A+A-

Name of study: Neurones in the brain drive competition and social behaviour 

By who and where: Massachusetts General Hospital, USA

What does it say?
✥ There are certain neurons in the brain that prompt competitive or good interaction qualities within groups. Competitive success is not only due to physical fitness or strength but also influenced by signals in the brain that affect the competitive drive.
✥ Scientists are hopeful that these findings will prove fruitful in the treatment of neurocognitive conditions such as schizophrenia and autism.

Influence is evident  
Dr Bindu Menon, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Amrita Hospitals, Kochi

The midline structures of the brain include a network called the default mode network. This is responsible for social cognition, including evaluation of one’s self and one’s status in society. In this context, the research is interesting as it involves neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)—a part of the limbic system or the emotional brain— for competitiveness that could be one of the learned behaviours. This leads to a good outcome in some social contexts. However, in other contexts, altruism or cooperation may be more constructive.

Largely inconclusive 
Dr Soumiya Mudgal, Consultant Psychiatrist, Mental Health And Behavioural Sciences, Max Hospital, Gurgaon

The study talks about ‘learning by consequences,’ where if an animal is repeatedly exposed to stimuli of competitive behaviour, it gets largely affected by the kind and type of exposure. But in a general environment, it may not always hold nor work as expected. However, the animal environment is restricted only to largely food and shelter, while the human environment involves a number of driving factors such as personal goals, ambition, basic personality traits, situational consequences etc., that effect competitive behaviour. 


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