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How the brain shops

Research locates neurons associated with valuing objects

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5:10pm, January 4, 2011

Individual human brain cells can be savvy shoppers, tuning their behavior to precisely reflect the worth of a candy bar, finds a study published January 5 in The Journal of Neuroscience. Understanding how these bean-counting neurons operate may help scientists get a better idea of how the brain assigns value to objects.

Evaluating objects is “something we all do on a moment-to-moment basis,” says study coauthor Rick Jenison of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but just how the human brain tallies up value isn’t clear.

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