A key part of the brain involved with decision making, the striatum, appears to operate hierarchically – much like a traditional corporation with executives, middle managers and employees, according to researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University in Japan.
Neurons in the dorsolateral, dorsomedial and ventral striatum were activated during different phases of the task. The vertical axes are numbered neurons, and the activity of each neuron is indicated by the yellow and red colors. The most neurons in the ventral striatum were activated prior to the task starting (phase 1). During the execution of picking the left or the right hole (phase 5), many neurons in the dorsomedial striatum were activated. In the dorsolateral striatum, each neuron fired short bursts at the different phases while the rat was moving throughout the task.