Washington, Nov 24 : If you are among those who try experimenting with new things-whether it's food, places or even your job-then there are chances that your neural connection between ventral striatum and hippocampus is particularly well developed, say Bonn scientists.
Both, ventral striatum and hippocampus are centres in the brain and perform different functions. While the reward system that governs how to take action is located in the striatum, the hippocampus is responsible for specific memory functions.
Michael X. Cohen and Dr. Bernd Weber from Bonn have hypothesised that in innovation-oriented people, both of these centres apparently interact particularly well.
They say that if the hippocampus identifies an experience as new, it sends the corresponding feedback to the striatum, where certain neurotransmitters are then released which lead to positive feelings.
With people who constantly seek new experiences, striatum and hippocampus are evidently wired particularly well.
Till date, it's been quite difficult to make the individual 'wiring' of the brain visible, but the new method of using modern MRI has actually revolutionised the exploration of the brain.
"In principle this was only possible using cross sections of the brain of deceased people, which in addition had to be stained in a complex process," explained Weber.
With modern MRI, its possible to determine in which directions the water in the tissue diffuses.
"With this hazard-free method we can work on completely new issues related to the function of the brain," said Cohen enthusiastically.
In the current study the researchers focused on the 'wiring' of the striatum. Also, the test candidates had to choose descriptions that characterised their personality best from a questionnaire, e.g. "I like to try out new things just for fun or because it's a challenge" or alternatively "I prefer to stay at home rather than travelling or investigating new things."
On the other hand, descriptions such as "I want to please other people as much as possible" or "I don't care whether other people like me or the way I do things," were about social acceptance. Even in this case, researchers noticed a link.
"The stronger the connection between frontal lobe and ventral striatum, the more distinctive the desire for recognition by that person's environment," said Weber.
But, that wasn't something unexpected. For example, it is known that people with defects of the frontal lobe violate social norms more frequently.