Article | Published:

Neural substrate of dynamic Bayesian inference in the cerebral cortex

Nature Neuroscience volume 19, pages 16821689 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Dynamic Bayesian inference allows a system to infer the environmental state under conditions of limited sensory observation. Using a goal-reaching task, we found that posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and adjacent posteromedial cortex (PM) implemented the two fundamental features of dynamic Bayesian inference: prediction of hidden states using an internal state transition model and updating the prediction with new sensory evidence. We optically imaged the activity of neurons in mouse PPC and PM layers 2, 3 and 5 in an acoustic virtual-reality system. As mice approached a reward site, anticipatory licking increased even when sound cues were intermittently presented; this was disturbed by PPC silencing. Probabilistic population decoding revealed that neurons in PPC and PM represented goal distances during sound omission (prediction), particularly in PPC layers 3 and 5, and prediction improved with the observation of cue sounds (updating). Our results illustrate how cerebral cortex realizes mental simulation using an action-dependent dynamic model.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the GENIE Program and the Janelia Research Campus for distributing GCaMP6f. We thank S.D. Aird for editing the manuscript and K. Mori for technical assistance. This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas: Prediction and Decision Making (23120007) (K.D.), KAKENHI 26730124 (A.F.) and 15H01452 (A.F.), and internal funding from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (K.D. and B.K.). We are grateful for generous support from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University to the Neural Computation and Optical Neuroimaging Units.

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Affiliations

  1. Neural Computation Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami, Okinawa, Japan.

    • Akihiro Funamizu
    •  & Kenji Doya
  2. Optical Neuroimaging Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami, Okinawa, Japan.

    • Akihiro Funamizu
    •  & Bernd Kuhn

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Contributions

A.F. designed the study, built the setup, collected and analyzed data, and wrote the paper. B.K. designed the study, built the setup and wrote the paper. K.D. designed the study and wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kenji Doya.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4390

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