Frontocortical mechanisms of flexible reward learning and value-based choice


February 11, 2020 - 12:00pm
Bio Labs 1080
About the Speaker
Alicia Izquierdo
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Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been assigned various overlapping roles ranging from learning and responding to reward, signaling value and uncertainty, and supporting economic decisions, to name a few. Both of these regions share reciprocal anatomical connections with basolateral amygdala, and not surprisingly, there is a great deal of functional similarity among these circuits. Using a combination of novel behavioral paradigms, DREADDs, and calcium imaging in freely-moving rats, our lab has sought better resolution of these diverse frontocortical processes. In this talk I will present data comparing OFC and ACC, together with basolateral amygdala, in flexible reward learning under uncertainty. Our results suggest highly overlapping, less specialized, roles for ACC and OFC in learning under uncertainty that point to complementary roles in keeping track of outcomes over repeated experience. Our more recent data will be discussed with an eye toward similarities in ACC and OFC function across cognitive domains, from perceptual to value- based decisions. Collectively these findings may have implications for how we view frontocortical contributions in flexible learning and value-based decision making across rodent and primate species.