UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


UCL BehavioNeuro Talk: Cognitive experience alters cortical involvement in navigation decisions

22 April 2022, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

UCL BehavioNeuro Talks

Speaker: Dr. Charlotte Arlt

Event Information

Open to



Prez Jarzebowski

The neural correlates of decision-making have been investigated extensively, and recent work aims to identify under what conditions cortex is actually necessary for making accurate decisions. We discovered that mice with distinct cognitive experiences, beyond sensory and motor learning, use different cortical areas and neural activity patterns to solve the same task, revealing past learning as a critical determinant of whether cortex is necessary for decision tasks. We used optogenetics and calcium imaging to study the necessity and neural activity of multiple cortical areas in mice with different training histories. Posterior parietal cortex and retrosplenial cortex were mostly dispensable for accurate performance of a simple navigation-based visual discrimination task. In contrast, these areas were essential for the same simple task when mice were previously trained on complex tasks with delay periods or association switches. Multi-area calcium imaging showed that, in mice with complex-task experience, single-neuron activity had higher selectivity and neuron-neuron correlations were weaker, leading to codes with higher task information. Therefore, past experience is a key factor in determining whether cortical areas have a causal role in decision tasks.

Seminar link: https://ucl.zoom.us/s/97651392958 

For information about upcoming and past talks see:
Twitter: @UCLIBNTalks
Seminar website: https://sites.google.com/view/ucl-ibn-talks