Behavioral physiology – examining brain to understand how the mind and body work
■ Cognitive neuroscientific research on motivational behavior
■ Behavioral neuroscientific research on the brain mechanisms of learning, memory, affection, and behavior selection
Our research goal is to investigate the way that brain function determines the production of human and animal behaviors. To achieve this goal, we conduct experimental research using diverse methodologies and examine the fundamental neural mechanisms underlying motivational behavior including eating behaviors that affect individual sustenance and reproductive behaviors that affect species preservation. Notably, since the sense of taste plays an important role in the manifestation of eating behaviors, we primarily examine the processing mechanisms of taste perception in the brain. In our neurophysiological research, we record the action potential of the nerve cells of freely behaving rats and anesthetized rats and analyze the active information processing modality from somatosensory input to motor output. In our immunohistochemical research, we identify the brain regions responsible for the presentation of eating behaviors and spatially map the flow of relevant information. In our behavioral scientific research, we examine local functional deprivation in the brain and the effect of medication on taste-related behaviors. In addition, we are advancing neurochemical and molecular biological research to identify the types of brain substances involved in eating behaviors and taste information processing. We use these neural mechanisms as stepping stones to understand higher brain functions such as cognition, emotional experience, learning, and memory.