Sex/Money Have Different Brain Areas

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This is very interesting.  Just look at the spatial relationship relative to the eyes and the brain stem.  Sex/mating stimuli processing is right behind where the come in the eyes and are real close to the brain stem where behavior is driven.  But money stimuli is processed “far” above and farther out “front” of the brain and well away from the brain stem.  In fact the money processing is about as far away from the brain stem as possible, and on the left side which is more analytic.

Wny would money be so far removed from the behavioral centers?  Distance in the brain means much longer processing time and much newer capabilities – in evolutionary time.  Fascinating.

Specific brain areas for sex, money

Specific brain areas for sex, money

This image illustrates the dissociation between primary and secondary rewards in the orbitofrontal cortex, a frontal region of the brain that is known to play a role in the evaluation of gratification.

  • The more primitive region (in the back, shown in yellow) represents the value of erotic images shown to the participants
  • while the most recent region (in the front, in blue) represents the value of monetary prizes won by the volunteers in the experiment.

… first evidence that the orbitofrontal cortex (located in the anterior ventral part of the brain) contains distinct regions that respond to secondary rewards like money as well as more primary gratifications like erotic images. ….

In our everyday lives, we often encounter various types of “rewards”….Moreover, we must often choose between them, or trade one for another.  To do this, we must be able to compare their relative value on a single consistent scale, which suggests that all types of rewards are assessed in the same .  At the same time it is possible that, due to their individual characteristics, different rewards may activate distinct cerebral regions. In particular, there could be a dissociation between so-called “primary” gratifications such as food or sex, which satisfy basic vital needs and have an innate value, and more “secondary” rewards such as money or power, which are not essential for survival and whose value is assessed by association with primary gratifications. Continue reading

Pre-Frontal Cortex Mapping

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Figure 1

Although the human brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been studied for decades, theories about a valuation network and a cognitive control network—both hypothesized to reside in the PFC—have only recently emerged, and their precise distinction is still unclear.

Furthermore, cognitive control, once considered a unitary construct, is now thought to fractionate into distinct executive functions whose neural correlates remain elusive.

It is thus still an unanswered question how these processes map onto distinct or possibly overlapping sectors of the PFC.  Glaescher et al. applied several new statistical mapping approaches to a sample of 344 lesion patients that had received an array of neuropsychological tests of executive functions and value-based decision-making.

Background data regarding IQ, memory, and other cognitive functions within individual subjects were also analyzed. The authors described detailed maps of PFC regions that are essential for different executive functions.

  • One set involving the dorsolateral PFC and the anterior cingulate cortex is associated with a common performance factor related to flexibly switching between task and response sets, a hallmark of cognitive control.
  • Another set involving the orbitofrontal cortex, ventromedial PFC, and frontopolar cortexis involved in value-based decision-making.This study details the essential neuroanatomical substrates of some of the highest brain functions and provides insights about the extent to which they are distinct or overlap.