This project will examine how neural activity in the medial frontal (or cingulate) cortex changes as new behavioral tasks are learned for the first time. The central issue is to understand how activity in this part of the brain allows for learning from past mistakes in order to avoid future failures. The experimental approach involves recording from chronically implanted arrays of electrodes in the medial frontal cortex of rats as the animals learn to perform reaction time tasks. These tasks are commonly used to study cognitive processing in human beings. The expected results will include testing a leading hypothesis in neuroscience that persistent activity in medial frontal cortex enables self-control, e.g. the ability to wait calmly before acting. We predict that this activity will develop in the medial frontal cortex during learning and will come to predict how well animals are able to adjust performance after mistakes are made. The potential impact of the study is that it will provide some of the first data on how error-related activity develops in this part of the brain during learning. Broader impact activities include data and computer resource sharing on a website, a multi-lingual children's program on the brain, and participation by undergraduates from a non-traditional research university in cutting-edge neurobiological research.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
Application #
1121147
Program Officer
David Coppola
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-08-15
Budget End
2014-07-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$560,800
Indirect Cost
Name
John B. Pierce Laboratory, Incorporated
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
New Haven
State
CT
Country
United States
Zip Code
06519