New insight on how the brain forms habits

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New data offers a glimpse into the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the formation of habitual actions, such as addiction to alcohol. In a study conducted in mice and rats, scientists in NIAAA’s Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience examined the cellular basis for learning and memory in the dorsolateral striatum, a part of the brain involved in habit learning. A particular receptor in the dorsolateral striatum, the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1), is critical for habit learning.

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