Title: Professor Masamichi Sakagami
Start date: Jun 16 2017
Start time: 11:15 am
End time: 12:15 pm
Organizer: Masataka Watanabe
Location: Max Planck House, Lecture Hall

In a complex and uncertain world, how do we select appropriate behavior? We believe that the brain affords at least two distinct mechanisms in learning the reward value of a stimulus: (1) Reinforcement learning through repeated stimulus-reward pairings, and (2) inferential strategy based on knowledge of the task at hand. In the current study using a reward inference task, we observed that both lateral prefrontal cortical (LPFC) and striatal neurons were able to predict reward value for a group of highly familiar stimuli (well-experienced with reward by the monkeys). But more importantly, LPFC neurons were able to infer the reward value of a new stimulus that the monkeys had not yet associated with reward directly through the integration of independently acquired stimulus-stimulus and stimulus-reward associations. In contrast, striatal neurons did not. Only after directly experiencing the new stimulus-reward contingency, were the striatal neurons able to predict reward value. Our results suggest dissociable functions in their reward prediction, i.e., that the LPFC utilizes stimulus categorization in a generative process of reward inference, whereas the striatum applies direct experiences of stimulus-reward associations in the guidance of behavior.

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Host: Masataka Watanabe