Stay positive – how the brain incites mice to react positively to both fear and reward

Neuroscientists used to think that positive and negative emotional states were processed in distinct areas of the brain. Mounting evidence from the past 15 years has challenged that view, showing that opposite signals and responses can be wired into the same anatomical structures. The lab of Wulf Haubensak at the IMP has investigated how fear and reward-seeking behaviours are encoded in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. They report in Frontiers in Neural Circuits that different circuitries process these emotional states, although they result in an overall positive response.

The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, with neurons in green involved in reward behaviours, and neurons in magenta involved in fear. Credit: Nadia Kaouane.

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