The amygdala in value-guided decision making
Author(s)Jaime-Bustamante, Kean (Kean Willyams)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
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The amygdala is a structure well known for its role in fear and reward learning, but how these mechanisms are used for decision-making is not well understood. Decision-making involves the rapid updating of cue associations as well as the encoding of a value currency, both processes in which the amygdala has been implicated. In this thesis I develop a strategy to study value-guided decision making in rodents using an olfactory binary choice task. Using a logistic regression model, I show that the value of expected rewards is a strong influence on choice, and can bias perceptual decisions. In addition, I show that decisions are influenced by events in the near past, and a specific bias towards correct choices in the near past can be detected using this analysis. Using genetic targeting of a sub-population of amygdala neurons, I show that this population is required for the rapid learning of an olfactory decision making task. Using in-vivo calcium imaging of this population I show that these neurons are active during the inter-trial interval and modulated by choice history, suggesting a mechanism by which choice history can influence current decisions.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Brain and Cognitive Sciences.