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Title: On adaptive behaviour and its neural basis : insights from computational models and the mouse auditory cortex
Author: Weissenberger, Yves
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 1842
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The processes of learning and decision making are at the core of intelligence. Although these phenomena have been studied for centuries, their nature and bi- ological implementation are still unclear. In this thesis, I approach these issues from multiple perspectives. First, I developed a novel infrastructure for performing large-scale behavioural and optogenetics experiments in rodents. Additionally, I performed validating experiments showing that auditory cortex is necessary for sound detection in mice. To gain further insights into mouse behaviour, I developed a novel model of head-fixed mouse behaviour. I applied this model to data from mice performing a sound detection task and showed that it accurately describes behaviour. Addition- ally, I used this method to obtain a deeper understanding of behavioural strategies. Next, I extended this model to account for changing strategies over learning and demonstrated that it is able to infer changing strategies on a trial-by-trial basis. By applying it to behavioural learning data, I showed that mice exploit simplicity in task-structure to rapidly acquire an effective behavioural strategy. Finally, I investigated the neural basis of sound-driven behavioural strategies by performing two-photon calcium imaging in layer 2/3 of the mouse auditory cortex during behaviour. Neuronal activity, which covaried with environmental events, importantly covaried with behavioural choice, potentially reflecting its role in driving behaviour. Modelling of population activity showed that choice-related activity is best accounted for by both changes in population gain and local func- tional connectivity. These data suggest that local computations in layer 2/3 of mouse auditory cortex contribute to sound-driven behaviour. Together, this work has generated novel tools and represents an almost end- to-end study of the processes of learning and decision making, providing a deeper understanding of behaviour and its neural basis.
Supervisor: Dahmen, Johannes Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neuroscience