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How subjective value shapes sensory representations in the adult brain.

Many forms of learning rely on the association of neutral stimuli with rewarding or aversive experiences. It is currently unknown i) how the (sub)cortical representations of sensory cues change during and after the learning process and ii) which structures and networks are critically involved in driving such changes. We aim to address these questions using a multimodal, interdisciplinary approach involving highly-refined correlational and genetic-based causal techniques in mice, monkeys and men. Our integrative comparative approach allows us to study the plasticity of representations at different spatiotemporal scales from single cells to the whole-brain. In each species, we will focus on the dominant sensory modality (olfaction in mice and mainly vision in monkeys/humans) enabling cross-modal cross-species comparisons and identification of general mechanisms of adult plasticity. Specifically, we will study sensory brain plasticity in reward-driven learning and the rapid learning of novel stimuli. Our proposed research will reveal fundamental principles underlying adult brain plasticity, which may ultimately improve the rehabilitation of patients with brain pathology and performance of elderly. In addition, this proposal will validate in a non-human primate model state-of-the-art genetic techniques developed in mice, which will be of critical translational value towards possible therapeutic use in the human.
Date:1 Oct 2017  →  Today
Disciplines:Neurosciences, Biological and physiological psychology, Cognitive science and intelligent systems, Developmental psychology and ageing