Neural correlates of instrumental learning in primary auditory cortex

Blake, D. T., Strata, F., Churchland, A. K., Merzenich, M. M. (July 2002) Neural correlates of instrumental learning in primary auditory cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99 (15). pp. 10114-10119. ISSN 00278424 (ISSN)

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DOI: 10.1073/pnas.092278099


In instrumental learning, Thorndike's law of effect states that stimulus-response relations are strengthened if they occur prior to positive reinforcement and weakened if they occur prior to negative reinforcement. In this study, we demonstrate that neural correlates of Thorndike's law may be observed in the primary auditory cortex, A1. Adult owl monkeys learned to discriminate tones higher than a standard frequency. Responses recorded from implanted microelectrodes initially exhibited broad spectral selectivity over a four-to-five octave range. With training, frequency discrimination thresholds changed from close to one octave to about 1/12 octave. Physiological recordings during the week in which the monkey came under behavioral control signaled by a drop in measured threshold had stronger responses to all frequencies. During the same week, A1 neural responses to target stimuli increased relative to standard and nontarget stimuli. This emergent difference in responsiveness persisted throughout the subsequent weeks of behavioral training. These data suggest that behavioral responses to stimuli modulate responsiveness in primary cortical areas.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal experiment animal model article auditory cortex auditory threshold behavior controlled study frequency discrimination learning microelectrode monkey nonhuman priority journal reinforcement stimulus response theory Animals Aotus trivirgatus Electric Stimulation Electrophysiology Neurons Probability Time Factors Animalia Strigiformes
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > auditory cortex
organism description > animal behavior > learning
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: July 2002
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 14:45
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2019 18:44
PMCID: PMC126633
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