Mice Don’t Know When to Let the idea Go, Either

In effect, the animals seemed to consider the deliberation time not to be part of their investment — an indication, Dr. Redish said, which different brain processes might be at work in different aspects of decision-producing.

The idea runs counter to the notion which “time is usually time, in addition to you’re wasting the idea either way,” he said.

Shelly Flagel, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan who was not involved inside the study, said the research had “far-reaching implications across fields including education, economics, psychology, neuroscience in addition to psychiatry.”

For example, she said, persisting in a behavior even though the idea has adverse consequences is usually reminiscent of the conduct “exhibited by people with addictions.”

“Once they start searching for their next ‘fix,’ they will often go hours or days on the same quest, even if the idea means giving up food, relationships, their job,” Dr. Flagel said.

Learning more about the distinct processes which go awry in psychiatric disorders like addiction might yield fresh strategies for treatment, she added.

inside the study, led by a doctoral student, Brian M. Sweis, three research laboratories at the University of Minnesota collaborated to conduct tests on mice, rats in addition to humans. The rodents were trained to forage for the flavored pellets — banana, chocolate, grape or plain — in a square maze using a “restaurant” in each corner.

The humans were taught to “forage” on a computer for videos of kittens, “dance landscapes” or bicycle accidents. Both rodents in addition to humans were given an overall time limit for the foraging tasks.