Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Neuroscience: Dr. Lucas Pinto, “Task-Specific Whole-Cortical States during Decision Making”

Wed, January 15, 2020 | SEA 4.244 (Library)

1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Department of Neuroscience
Faculty Recruitment Spring 2020

Lucas Pinto, MD, PhD
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Laboratories of Drs. Carlos Brody & David Tank

“Task-Specific Whole-Cortical States during Decision Making”

Wednesday, January 15
Seay 4.244, 1:30-3:30p
Seminar at 1:30, Chalk-talk at 2:30
Dr. Pinto's website

Abstract: A central question in the neuroscience of decision making is to what extent computations are distributed or localized in specific brain areas. In my talk, I will argue that the degree of localization of cortical function is not static, but rather depends crucially on the complexity of the underlying decision-making computations.

I will first discuss a novel virtual navigation-based decision-making task for mice that relies on seconds-long accumulation of pulsed visual evidence. I will then talk about experiments involving systematic optogenetic mapping and wide-field calcium imaging across the dorsal cortex. Specifically, I use these techniques to compare the evidence-accumulation task to two related tasks happening in the same virtual maze, but with different underlying computations. The results suggest that tasks with higher cognitive demands engage more distributed cortical circuits, with less correlated activity across different cortical regions. More generally, they suggest that changes in the underlying computations result in a reorganization of whole-cortical dynamics, a concept which I refer to as task-specific cortical states. Finally, I will briefly discuss ongoing work and future research plans aimed at understanding the circuit mechanisms and the behavioral logic behind these cortical states.


Sponsored by: Department of Neuroscience

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