The encoding of model-based control signals in rat anterior cingulate cortex

Thumbnail Image
Mashhoori, Ali
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Neuroscience
The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has been implicated in a wide variety of behaviours. Yet, a comprehensive theory of the ACC function is lacking. A promising theory is that ACC uses information from past experience to create predictive mental models that guide future response selection – that is the ACC is a model-based controller. This thesis tests the key hypotheses supporting this theory in two separate tasks. The results of the first experiment show that ACC tracks a rat’s state with high spatiotemporal resolution during a binary-choice task. The results of the second task demonstrate that ACC neurons encode several abstract features of a task, including information about the block structure of the task. Together the results suggests that the schema in the ACC is to reconfigure in order to reflect abstract rules of the task, which is essential for optimizing future response selection.
Animal memory , Attention , Behavior, Animal , Brain Anatomy , Cognition , Decision making