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How are the frontal-striatal circuits involved in trade-off between attention demanding and automatic processes?

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session IV

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • E. Lee
  • M. Seo
  • B.B. Averbeck


The role of frontal-striatal (FS) circuits in the trade-off between attention demanding and automatic processes has not been examined directly. To investigate this, we trained monkeys on an oculomotor sequential decision making task with two conditions. In the first condition (random) the correct spatial sequence of eye movements varied randomly from trial-to-trial. In the second condition (fixed) the sequence was fixed for blocks of eight correct trials. Therefore, in the random condition the animal had to carry out a highly attention demanding task, whereas in the fixed condition the animal could automatically execute the sequence from memory, once the sequence was learned. We recorded local field potentials from lPFC and dStr simultaneously with multiple electrodes from two monkeys. In our preliminary analyses we have examined changes in coherence while animals learned sequences within fixed blocks. We found that coherence in the beta band was higher when animals were trying to work out the sequence, and became weaker after the sequence had been learned. Overall, our results show that the trade-off between attention demanding and overlearned processes occurs by controlling the strength of cooperation between lPFC and dStr.

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