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Neuron. 2015 Jun 17;86(6):1478-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.037. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

Learning Enhances Sensory and Multiple Non-sensory Representations in Primary Visual Cortex.

Author information

1
University College London, 21 University Street, London WC1E 6DE, UK.
2
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland; University College London, 21 University Street, London WC1E 6DE, UK.
3
Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK.
4
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland.
5
Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Maulbeerstrasse 66, 4058 Basel, Switzerland.
6
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland; University College London, 21 University Street, London WC1E 6DE, UK. Electronic address: sonja.hofer@unibas.ch.

Abstract

We determined how learning modifies neural representations in primary visual cortex (V1) during acquisition of a visually guided behavioral task. We imaged the activity of the same layer 2/3 neuronal populations as mice learned to discriminate two visual patterns while running through a virtual corridor, where one pattern was rewarded. Improvements in behavioral performance were closely associated with increasingly distinguishable population-level representations of task-relevant stimuli, as a result of stabilization of existing and recruitment of new neurons selective for these stimuli. These effects correlated with the appearance of multiple task-dependent signals during learning: those that increased neuronal selectivity across the population when expert animals engaged in the task, and those reflecting anticipation or behavioral choices specifically in neuronal subsets preferring the rewarded stimulus. Therefore, learning engages diverse mechanisms that modify sensory and non-sensory representations in V1 to adjust its processing to task requirements and the behavioral relevance of visual stimuli.

PMID:
26051421
PMCID:
PMC4503798
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.037
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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