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MHRC studies lateral frontopolar cortex of human brains to understand human decision-making

21 Mar 2024


Dr Bolton CHAU, Associate Director of the Mental Health Research Centre (MHRC) and Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, and his team discovered the function of a lateral frontopolar cortex (FPl), a brain region unique to humans, hence providing important insights as to why humans are capable of generating complex behaviours. The findings have been published in Cell Reports. 

With the use of brain imaging and artificial intelligence, the team identified that the FPl is involved in digesting complex information during decision-making. The FPI uses a parallel processing mechanism that decomposes high-dimensional choice information into simpler forms and transfers this simplified information to another region, the posterior cingulate cortex, to guide decision-making.

The team also received a funding from the Collaborative Research Fund of the Research Grants Council (RGC) to conduct follow-up studies for three years. These studies aim to investigate the specific information represented in the FPl, develop artificial neural networks to reverse-engineer the FPl, and develop effective brain stimulation approaches to modulate the FPl. The studies will be conducted by a team comprising researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and the University of Oxford, and will leverage MHRC collaboration platform and the cutting-edge facilities of the University Research Facility in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience (UBSN). 


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