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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Apr 22;111(16):6063-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317087111. Epub 2014 Apr 7.

Evidence for a causal inverse model in an avian cortico-basal ganglia circuit.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroinformatics and Neuroscience Center Zurich, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

Learning by imitation is fundamental to both communication and social behavior and requires the conversion of complex, nonlinear sensory codes for perception into similarly complex motor codes for generating action. To understand the neural substrates underlying this conversion, we study sensorimotor transformations in songbird cortical output neurons of a basal-ganglia pathway involved in song learning. Despite the complexity of sensory and motor codes, we find a simple, temporally specific, causal correspondence between them. Sensory neural responses to song playback mirror motor-related activity recorded during singing, with a temporal offset of roughly 40 ms, in agreement with short feedback loop delays estimated using electrical and auditory stimulation. Such matching of mirroring offsets and loop delays is consistent with a recent Hebbian theory of motor learning and suggests that cortico-basal ganglia pathways could support motor control via causal inverse models that can invert the rich correspondence between motor exploration and sensory feedback.

KEYWORDS:

Hebbian learning; lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium; mirror neuron

PMID:
24711417
PMCID:
PMC4000851
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1317087111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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