An Integrated View on Neural Correlates of Attention and Control

Project: Research project

Description

Experimental and computational approaches are proposed to address the question of how electrical activities in neuronal circuits give rise to intelligent control behaviors, especially during the time course from attention to control execution. The goal of the proposed study is to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms of a rats neural representation in the motor cortical areas and parietal areas as the rat performs a driving task that requires significant attention. The basis of the proposed study is from researches to date where the strong reciprocal connections between the frontal areas and the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) have been implicated in attention and action related processes. Specifically, it has clearly indicated that the rat PPC is a multimodal convergence area with connections to the cortex and the thalamus and that the PPC is a part of a cortical network for directed attention. It is also rather clear that frontal and parietal areas are strongly coupled and function together for action planning. In lieu of these observations, we propose to examine the following three behavioral signatures and their respective neural substrates in the coupled PPC and frontal areas within the context of sensorimotor transformation for decision and control attention to the control task, control initiation and control execution. The proposed research entails studies in the following two aspects: 1) Multichannel chronic recording from rats frontal areas using ECoG electrodes and PPC using depth electrodes for single unit activities. Recordings will be conducted while the rat performs a driving task. The experiment involves a self-paced, freely moving rat working inside an enclosure to follow a directional light cue. By pressing a control paddle, the rat steers the mobile cart to target. The goal of the experimental study is to systematically collect cortical and behavioral data with high spatial and temporal resolutions. 2) Studying the rats behavioral data with respect to a clear time course from attention to control together with the rats neural activities from the frontal and PPC areas using ECoG and depth electrodes. By doing so we aim to unveil the rats neural circuits in the frontal and PPC areas and their respective functional roles throughout the sequence of behavioral events from attention to control
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/127/31/16

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $386,739.00

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Rats
Electrodes
Networks (circuits)
Intelligent control
Enclosures
Planning
Substrates