A03Cognition and sociality Neural mechanisms of data abstraction and deductive inference in the prefrontal cortex
We have investigated the neural mechanisms of thought and inference using monkeys as subjects. In the previous Shingakujutu program, “Prediction and Decision making” (2011-2016), we recorded neuronal activity in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia of monkey subjects while they performed a reward inference task. We found that prefrontal neuron activity predicted outcome by means of transitive inference, while the activity of neurons in the basal ganglia had to depend on direct experience to make predictions (Pan et al., 2014). Based on these observations, we proposed the hypothesis that the ability of prefrontal neurons to make inferences depends on data abstraction and deductive manipulation (Tanaka et al., 2015). To further probe this hypothesis, in the current project we will employ multiunit recording using a Utah probe, calcium imaging using sophisticated fiber microscopy, and decoding based on cutting edge AI technology.