Striatal circuitry for reward seeking behavior

April 3, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Ilana Witten; hosted by Lindsey Glickfeld

The striatum is essential to learning which actions lead to reward, and implementing those action. Decades of experimental and theoretical work have led to several influential hypotheses about how the striatal circuit mediates these functions. However, little is known about what is encoded in genetically and anatomically defined inputs to the striatum, even though this knowledge would constrain models of striatal function. Therefore, in the 1st half of my talk, I will discuss our ongoing work clarifying coding properties of dopaminergic neurons that project to the striatum, in the context of decision making ask. This work suggests specialization and anatomical organization of the dopamine system. In the 2nd half, I'll discuss coding properties of cortical neurons that project to striatum, in the context of social behavior. This work suggests highly multiplexed coding properties that support the formation of arbitrary reward associations.