From the smell of flowers to the taste of wine, our perception is strongly influenced by prior knowledge and expectations (so called top-down control) developed through learning. How is this learning-related change in perception mediated by brain circuits? This study reveals how the mouse brain changes its operation modes to implement these top-down processes during learning. We found that when the mouse assigns a new meaning to a previously neutral visual stimulus, top-down control becomes much more influential to activate the visual cortex. Top-down inputs interact with specific neuron types in the visual cortex to modulate its operation modes. In addition to revealing circuit mechanisms underlying these learning-related changes, our findings may have implications in understanding the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia that generates abnormal perception.
Research Area “Development and Function of Neural Networks”
Research Theme “Learning-related plasticity of cortical microcircuits”
Makino, H. and Komiyama, T. “Learning enhances the relative impact of top-down processing in the visual cortex”. Nature Neuroscience, Published online 13 July 2015, doi:10.1038/nn.4061.
Hiroshi Makino, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow, Neurobiology Section and Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego
Takaki Komiyama, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology Section and Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego
Koji Matsuo, Tetsu Kawaguchi, and Raijo Yakuwa
Life Innovation Group, Department of Innovation Research, JST