Michelle Zhang Rose Hills
Causal Role of the dmPFC in Goal-Directed Behavior
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important part in purposeful, goal-directed behavior through the representation and maintenance of internal goals. In particular, the PFC has been implicated in post-error correction, an important aspect of adaptive cognitive control whereby animals perform better immediately after punishment than after reward. However, the contributions of the PFC to this phenomenon on a trial-by-trial basis are still unclear. Our hypotheses are that the PFC affects overall performance because of its contribution to stimulus-based decision-making and that outcome responses in the PFC underlie the phenomenon of post-error correction. My project will use optogenetics to test whether PFC activity underlies individual components of goal-directed behavior, and our results will be an important contribution to understanding the functions of the PFC.