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in press, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience A Computational Model of How Cholinergic Interneurons Protect Striatal-Dependent Learning
 

Summary: in press, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A Computational Model of How Cholinergic Interneurons Protect Striatal-Dependent Learning
F. Gregory Ashby1
& Matthew J. Crossley
University of California, Santa Barbara
An essential component of skill acquisition is learning the environmental conditions in which that
skill is relevant. This article proposes and tests a neurobiologically detailed theory of how such
learning is mediated. The theory assumes that a key component of this learning is provided by the
cholinergic interneurons in the striatum known as TANs (i.e., Tonically Active Neurons). The
TANs are assumed to exert a tonic inhibitory influence over cortical inputs to the striatum that
prevents the execution of any striatal-dependent actions. The TANs learn to pause in rewarding
environments, and this pause releases the striatal output neurons from this inhibitory effect,
thereby facilitating the learning and expression of striatal-dependent behaviors. When rewards are
no longer available, the TANs cease to pause, which protects striatal learning from decay. A
computational version of this theory accounts for a variety of single-cell recording data, and some
classic behavioral phenomena, including fast reacquisition following extinction.
Keywords: TANs, striatum, skill learning, dopamine, reacquisition, extinction
Introduction
During skill learning, a response elicited by a specific stimulus might be rewarded, but if this same stimulus is
encountered outside of the training session, why doesn't the absence of reward extinguish the skill response? This article

  

Source: Ashby, F. Gregory - Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences