Northwestern Events Calendar


Neuroscience Faculty Candidate Seminar: Ryoma Hattori Ph.D.

When: Monday, February 6, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Ward Building, 303 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 Chicago map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student

Contact: Wesley Gryziak   (630) 373-3304

Group: Feinberg School of Medicine Events

Category: Academic


"Cortical mechanisms of reinforcement learning and value-based decision."

Reinforcement learning (RL) is a fundamental trial-and-error learning that is essential for our cognitive flexibility. Animals update subjective values based on their actions and outcomes through RL, and these updated values are used for their rational decision making. Although past decades of research have revealed the detailed value updating mechanism by midbrain dopamine neurons and striatum, our understanding of the roles of the cortex in RL has been limited. In this talk, I will present my recent works on the cortical mechanisms of RL in the mouse brain. Two-photon calcium imaging revealed that action value signals are widely distributed across cortical areas, but the strength and temporal persistency of value coding differed across areas. In particular, the retrosplenial cortex stably maintained value signals across time with exceptional coding persistency. Network simulations suggested that such coding persistency facilitates value distribution in the brain. In the latter half of my talk, I will present my unpublished work on the neural mechanism that supports multiple layers of RLs. Recent studies in AI indicated that slow plasticity-based RL can shape recurrent neural networks to implement fast recurrent activity-based RL. I will present the evidence that the mouse brain exploits a similar meta-reinforcement learning mechanism to mediate multiple RLs in parallel at distinct timescales for extra cognitive flexibility.

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