Neural substrates of memory and prospection
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience
Department of Physiology
The ability to use experience to guide behavior (to learn and remember) is one of the most remarkable abilities of the brain. Our goal is to understand how activity and plasticity in neural circuits underlie both learning and the ability to use learned information to make decisions. These memory processes engage widely distributed brain circuits, and in this talk I will describe our work that aims to understand the links between memories and specific distributed patterns of brain activity. I will focus on our findings of non-local patterns of hippocampal and cortical activity that are well suited to support both learning and memory retrieval. I will also discuss the potential role these activity patterns might play in decision-making processes. Finally, I will briefly describe work we have been doing to develop new technologies that enable very large-scale recordings of distributed patterns of neural activity in freely behaving animals.