The Impact of Neural Circuits Essay

The purpose of this study was to explore the role of neural circuits in determining human behaviors and decision-making. A qualitative design was used to evaluate relevant and current evidence on neural circuits and how they influence decision-making and behavior among human beings. The findings indicated that neural circuits play an essential role in human behavior and decision-making.

Neural systems are usually tuned to facilitate stable and efficient processing of information from different parts of the brain and generate strong behaviors (Silston, Bassett, & Mobbs, 2018). A specific neuron receives thousands of synapses and links with a similar number, forming circuits in the brain. This process requires an effective balance between stability, flexibility, and learning from and adapting to new environments, which is vital in executing human behavior (Silston et al., 2018). The mechanisms through which neural circuits in the human brain influence behavior have puzzled biomedical investigators for decades. Various brain and psychiatric disorders can be triggered by the dysfunction of neural circuits, including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease (Tay et a., 2018).

The purpose of this study was to understand the impact of neural circuits on behavior among human beings. Understanding the role of neural circuits in human behavior is important because it facilitates the identification of potential brain disorders that can cause adverse complications and even death. In addition, understanding the functionality of neural circuits allows for timely prevention measures and treatment of brain-related conditions such as epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, intellectual disabilities, and autism.

The goal of this study was to investigate the impact of neural circuits on human behavior. The study employed a qualitative literature review design to analyze evidence on the impact of neural circuits on human behavior. The rationale behind using the qualitative methods is to facilitate an in-depth review of previous evidence on neural circuits and their influence on human behavior. The primary advantage of using a qualitative approach is that it is time-sensitive and cost-effective compared to quantitative research, which may require multiple researchers and participants (Silverman, 2016). In addition, quantitative research involves more resources. In addition, qualitative research facilitates the collection of detailed information on a specific topic and can act as a foundation for future quantitative studies. However, qualitative designs also have various limitations that can influence the reliability of findings. For example, qualitative studies are prone to researcher bias, which negatively influences the reliability of the findings (Silverman, 2016). In addition, findings from qualitative studies are usually based on researchers’ judgment, thus, reducing their generalizability to entire populations (Silverman, 2016). This study focused on previous literature from various online databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect.

The qualitative literature search yielded various studies that have explained the role of neural circuits in determining behavior and decision-making among human beings. The chains of communicating neurons or neural networks are designed to accomplish specific defined functions such as recognition of human faces, reflex, processing visual information, and generating movement (Schwartz, 2016). Though some neural networks are complex, others are made of much simpler circuits (Schwartz, 2016). For example, Kristan (2008) conducted an in-depth analysis of neuronal decision-making circuits and how they influence human behavior. Kristan (2008) explained two possibilities in which neuronal circuits decide between behaviors in humans; reflexive and dynamical possibilities. The reflexive possibility approach entails two different behaviors being triggered by different sensory neurons (Kristan, 2008). However, the resulting activation of sensory neurons can overlap based on timing and location. After activation, the sensory input is processed through a series of complex processes to provide decision-makers with highly abstracted input (Kristan, 2008). Additionally, these decision-makers activate the pattern generator for a specific behavior while also preventing other behaviors, resulting in mutual inhibition. The second possibility is demonstrated through a three-dimensional graph (x,y,z) representing stimulus and two different behaviors (Kristan, 2008). However, this model could be used to describe the relationship between stimulus in the horizontal axis and multiple neurons or different types of neurons. Stimuli influence the activity of neurons by activating different behavioral patterns.

Historically, initial approaches to explain how the brain influenced human behavior was based on the assumption that all behaviors have specific reflexes, involving sensory input, which yields motor output automatically (Kristan, 2008). Specific responses from neural circuits can result from various factors including age, inherent biases, experience, internal states, and other stimuli (Kristan, 2008). Human behavior and decision-making results from specific neurons at the points of transition between motor and sensory processing. Basically, people activate specific neuronal circuits that generate a spatiotemporal pattern of activities, which causes the motor neurons to produce coordinated behaviors and decisions. This strategy is based on the assumption that stimulating neural circuits forces he decision-maker to produce a decision or behavior, and ablating removes behavioral options. Overall, studies indicate that neural circuits play a major role in decision-making and behaviors among human beings.

Decision-making and human behavior have attracted significant interest in neurobiological research on cognition over the past few decades. This review has demonstrated the important role neural circuits play in human behavior and decision-making. In addition to human beings, researchers can now study behavioral patterns in different species including rats, monkeys, and flies. It is now the right time to evaluate the primary mechanisms that facilitate decision-making and behavior in humans. For example, researchers should focus on understanding the biophysical processes in neural networks, synaptic connections, and the connectivity of microcircuits. Exploring the role of neural circuits in human behavior and decision-making can guide the development of effective treatment and interventions for individuals with mental health issues. In addition, an improved understanding of neural circuits can facilitate the timely detection of potentially life-threatening psychiatric conditions that may cause paralysis or death.
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Kristan, W. B. (2008). Neuronal decision-making circuits. Current Biology, 18(19), R928-R932.
Schwartz, A. B. (2016). Movement: How the brain communicates with the world. Cell, 164(6), 1122-1135.
Silston, B., Bassett, D. S., & Mobbs, D. (2018). How dynamic brain networks tune social behavior in real time. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 413-421.
Silverman, D. (Ed.). (2016). Qualitative research. Sage.
Tay, T. L., Béchade, C., D’Andrea, I., St-Pierre, M. K., Henry, M. S., Roumier, A., & Tremblay, M. E. (2018). Microglia gone rogue: Impacts on psychiatric disorders across the lifespan. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 10, 421.