Event Abstract

A connectionist approach to decision making in the basal ganglia

  • 1 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt., Egypt
  • 2 Université Bordeaux-Segalen, UMR 5293 and CNRS, UMR 5293, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, Bordeaux, France, France

The basal ganglia (BG) are crucial structures for decision-making processes, i.e. the cognitive processes resulting in the selection of a set of actions among several alternative scenarios. Modelling of BG circuitry has played an important role in our understanding of these mental processes, over the last 20 years. Until now, many developmental changes have occurred regarding these models due to continued progress in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry research. In turn, these advances have provided us with novel views regarding the dynamic associations between BG regions. These interactions reflect their connectivity across motor, cognitive and associative loops, which are involved in the decision making process. Furthermore, even though numerous experimental studies have been led by cognitive dysfunctions related to BG, the connectionist neuronal network approach has rarely been employed to describe the decision-making process mechanisms. There are two reasons to support the importance of this class of descriptive model: (i) through this approach, we can precisely follow the information flow underlying decision-making as an emerging property of BG circuits and (ii) since educated decision-making involves preliminary learning relying on synaptic plasticity and thus on synaptic weights modification, we can provide a more plausible description of the whole phenomenon at the cell scale level.
In this work, we show how the connectionist approach can shed additional light on the function of the input and output structures of the BG, on their transfer functions and we thus clarify this process in a mechanistic way.

Keywords: Basal ganglia (BG), Decision Making, modelling, connectionist models, action selection

Conference: 4th Conference of the Mediterrarnean Neuroscience Society, Istanbul, Turkey, 30 Sep - 3 Oct, 2012.

Presentation Type: Symposium

Topic: Abstracts

Citation: Khalil R, Guthrie M, Garenne A and Boraud T (2013). A connectionist approach to decision making in the basal ganglia. Front. Hum. Neurosci. Conference Abstract: 4th Conference of the Mediterrarnean Neuroscience Society. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2013.210.00040

Received: 25 Jan 2013; Published Online: 11 Apr 2013.

* Correspondence: Miss. Radwa Khalil, Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt., Alexandria, Egypt, radwakhalil@hotmail.com

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