Prefrontal Neurons Encode Actions and Outcomes in Conjunction with Spatial Location in Rats Performing a Dynamic Delayed Non-Match to Position Task.

Academic Article


  • To respond adaptively to change organisms must utilize information about recent events and environmental context to select actions that are likely to produce favorable outcomes. We developed a dynamic delayed nonmatching to position task to study the influence of spatial context on event-related activity of medial prefrontal cortex neurons during reinforcement-guided decision-making. We found neurons with responses related to preparation, movement, lever press responses, reinforcement, and memory delays. Combined event-related and video tracking analyses revealed variability in spatial tuning of neurons with similar event-related activity. While all correlated neurons exhibited spatial tuning broadly consistent with relevant task events, for instance reinforcement-related activity concentrated in locations where reinforcement was delivered, some had elevated activity in more specific locations, for instance reinforcement-related activity in one of several locations where reinforcement was delivered. Timing analyses revealed a limited set of distinct response types with activity time-locked to critical behavioral events that represent the temporal organization of dDNMTP trials. Our results suggest that reinforcement-guided decision-making emerges from discrete populations of medial prefrontal neurons that encode information related to planned or ongoing movements and actions and anticipated or actual action-outcomes in conjunction with information about spatial context.
  • Authors

  • Onos, Kristen D
  • Francoeur, Miranda J
  • Wormwood, Benjamin A
  • Miller, Rikki LA
  • Gibson, Brett
  • Mair, Robert G
  • Publication Date

  • 2016
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Decision Making
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neurons
  • Prefrontal Cortex
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • e0149019
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2