This project will investigate the systems-level mechanisms of reinforcement learning as applied towards attention and visual-motor associative learning. We will use cross-areal neuronal recordings as well as combined cortical and subcortical stimulation in awake, behaving macaques to study prefrontal-striatal interactions during learning, and to drive attention and learning. We will record simultaneously in the lateral prefrontal cortex and striatum while animals perform an online learning task, to characterize learning-related changes in their correlated activity. We predict that learning will modify the magnitude or nature of these interactions. Furthermore, we will attempt to drive visual-spatial attention and visual-motor associative learning through the application of microstimulation to the frontal eye fields and to the dopamine-neuron containing regions of the midbrain. We predict that such combined stimulation will synergistically potentiate neural responses in the striatum, and will produce learned ("programmed") biases in attention and visualmotor behavior.

Public Health Relevance

The frontal cortex-basal ganglia system is centrally implicated in diseases ranging from movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson's Disease), to psychiatric diseases, (e.g., depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder). Also, many motor and cognitive deficits resulting from stroke or trauma are attributable to damage within this system. A better understanding of how learning occurs through neural interactions across these structures will allow us to better characterize the underlying derangements of neural processing in disease states and to develop ways to augment functional recovery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-TWD-B)
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Brown University
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Song, Joo-Hyun; B├ędard, Patrick (2015) Paradoxical benefits of dual-task contexts for visuomotor memory. Psychol Sci 26:148-58
Moher, Jeff; Sit, Jonathan; Song, Joo-Hyun (2015) Goal-directed action is automatically biased towards looming motion. Vision Res 113:188-97
Aguiar, Derek; Wong, Wendy S W; Istrail, Sorin (2014) Tumor haplotype assembly algorithms for cancer genomics. Pac Symp Biocomput :3-14
Amso, Dima; Haas, Sara; Markant, Julie (2014) An eye tracking investigation of developmental change in bottom-up attention orienting to faces in cluttered natural scenes. PLoS One 9:e85701
Pescosolido, Matthew F; Stein, David M; Schmidt, Michael et al. (2014) Genetic and phenotypic diversity of NHE6 mutations in Christianson syndrome. Ann Neurol 76:581-93
Schlesinger, Matthew; Johnson, Scott P; Amso, Dima (2014) Prediction-learning in infants as a mechanism for gaze control during object exploration. Front Psychol 5:441
Moher, Jeff; Song, Joo-Hyun (2014) Perceptual decision processes flexibly adapt to avoid change-of-mind motor costs. J Vis 14:1
Amso, Dima; Haas, Sara; Tenenbaum, Elena et al. (2014) Bottom-up attention orienting in young children with autism. J Autism Dev Disord 44:664-73
Corbett, Jennifer E; Song, Joo-Hyun (2014) Statistical extraction affects visually guided action. Vis cogn 22:881-895
McLean, Rebecca L; Johnson Harrison, Ashley; Zimak, Eric et al. (2014) Executive function in probands with autism with average IQ and their unaffected first-degree relatives. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 53:1001-9

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