Neurobiology Invited Seminar

February 15, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Joshua Dudman, hosted by Kevin Franks
dudman headshot

Neurobiology welcomes Joshua Dudman, PhD, Group Leader at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Dudman will present "Reinforcement learning and its discontents" live in 103 Bryan Research on Tues. Feb. 15 with a Zoom simulcast. Email d.shipman@duke.edu for connection details.
ABSTRACT: Recent success in training artificial agents and robots derives from diverse combinations of representations and learning algorithms leading to high levels of performance in some settings. In animals, behavioral learning and the role of mesolimbic dopamine signaling have been extensively evaluated with respect to a relatively narrow set of constructs: those of reward or reward prediction; however, to date there has been little consideration of how an enlarged view of learning algorithms might inform our insights into animal learning broadly and the role of mesolimbic dopamine signaling specifically. In this seminar I will discuss recent work from our group where we explore a distinct class of reinforcement learning model in the context of mice learning a canonical trace conditioning paradigm. I will use this work to argue that both the correlates of activity and the function of dopamine release are more consistent with a role of mesolimbic dopamine in adaptively modulating the rate of learning in contrast to many long standing theories. I conclude by discussing the implications of this argument in the context of other learning paradigms studied in my group and those of other groups.