Operant learning

  • Article
    | Open Access

    New instrumental learning occurs through an unexpected delivery of a rewarding stimulus or the withdrawal of a punishing stimulus. The authors show that D1 receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons (MSNs) in the anterior dorsolateral striatum encode newly learned instrumental actions whereas D2 MSNs promote the expression of habitual actions.

    • Alexander C. W. Smith
    • , Sietse Jonkman
    •  & Paul J. Kenny
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The challenge of sensory substitution as a therapeutic approach is to design systems that are well accepted by subjects. Here, in deaf songbirds, the authors substitute hearing with vision, suggesting substitution devices could provide sensory feedback for the key actions that are deprived.

    • Anja T. Zai
    • , Sophie Cavé-Lopez
    •  & Richard H. R. Hahnloser
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Alcohol is the leading cause of preventable birth defects in the US, collectively referred to as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Here, the authors show that fetal alcohol exposure induces lasting neurophysiological changes in dorsal striatum that contribute to less efficient decision making.

    • Verginia C. Cuzon Carlson
    • , Christina M. Gremel
    •  & David M. Lovinger
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sounds vary in the strength of behavioural conditioning they can evoke, a property attributed to stimulus salience. Here, the authors show that stimulus salience the overall level of neuronal activity recruited in the auditory cortex is strongly related with its reinforcing strength.

    • Sebastian Ceballo
    • , Jacques Bourg
    •  & Brice Bathellier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The reinforcement learning literature suggests decisions are based on a model-free system, operating retrospectively, and a model-based system, operating prospectively. Here, the authors show that a model-based retrospective inference of a reward’s cause, guides model-free credit-assignment.

    • Rani Moran
    • , Mehdi Keramati
    •  & Raymond J. Dolan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In order to adjust expectations efficiently, prediction errors need to be associated with the features that gave rise to the unexpected outcome. Here, the authors show that neurons in anterior fronto-striatal networks encode prediction errors that are specific to feature values of different stimulus dimensions.

    • Mariann Oemisch
    • , Stephanie Westendorff
    •  & Thilo Womelsdorf
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Early childhood deprivation such as institutionalization can greatly affect early development. Here, the authors study children who were raised in institutions but later randomly placed in foster care vs. not, to understand how early-life deprivation affects associative learning in adolescence.

    • Margaret A. Sheridan
    • , Katie A. McLaughlin
    •  & Charles A. Nelson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous studies have shown short-term plasticity in single neurons or local field potentials during brain-machine interface (BMI) training. Here the authors report long-term changes in functional connectivity of motor cortex neuronal ensemble activity as chronically amputated monkeys learn to operate a BMI.

    • Karthikeyan Balasubramanian
    • , Mukta Vaidya
    •  & Nicholas G. Hatsopoulos
  • Article
    | Open Access

    People often assume that other people share their preferences, but how exactly this bias manifests itself in learning and decision-making is unclear. Here, authors show that a person's own preferences influence learning in both social and non-social situations, and that this bias improves performance.

    • Tor Tarantola
    • , Dharshan Kumaran
    •  & Benedetto De Martino
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) has been studied extensively in slices but whether such pairings can induce plasticity in vivo is not known. Here the authors report an experimental paradigm that achieves bidirectional corticostriatal STDP in vivo through modulation by behaviourally relevant reinforcement signals, mediated by dopamine and adenosine signaling.

    • Simon D. Fisher
    • , Paul B. Robertson
    •  & John N.J. Reynolds
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The orbitofrontal cortex is associated with foraging behaviour yet the structural changes underlying such rule-based learning remain unclear. Here, the authors imaged OFC axons throughout a digging-based odour discrimination task and found correlations between the rate of bouton turnover and the behavioural strategies of individual mice.

    • Carolyn M. Johnson
    • , Hannah Peckler
    •  & Linda Wilbrecht
  • Article |

    The mammalian brain is able to rapidly adapt to environmental changes, but it is unclear how this occurs at the level of the single neuron. Hira et al.use two-photon calcium imaging of neurons in the mouse motor cortex after a lever-pull task to demonstrate rapid operant conditioning of single neurons.

    • Riichiro Hira
    • , Fuki Ohkubo
    •  & Masanori Matsuzaki