Prospective and retrospective contribution of prefrontal cortex to learning and consolidation

July 17, 2018
h. 11.00
Room Caldirola
Via Celoria 16 — Milano

Silvia Maggi1,2
1. School of Psychology. University of Nottingham
2. Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. University of Manchester

Learning from experience requires the combined integration of sensory stimuli and past events to drive future decision. This adaptive behavior relies on complex dynamics of large-scale brain circuitry. Prefrontal cortex (PfC) plays a role in the representation of context-dependent information needed for trial and error learning. However, unknown is whether PfC uses this information to plan new behavioral choices or to remember an implemented strategy.

We investigated population dynamics of rats learning decision rules in a Y-maze task. The analysis of PfC population activity during trial and inter-trial interval phases revealed learning-dependent signature of upcoming choices and short-term memory encoding, respectively. A comparison between trial and inter-trial interval ensembles suggested that the fast shift between prospective and retrospective encoding of task-relevant information was supported by an orthogonal set of neurons; consequently, decision and memory representations in the PfC independently contribute to the learning of a new rule.

published on 6/5/2018