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Séminaire - Charlie WilsonThe neural basis of adaptive cognitive control: beta oscillations, feedback and dopamine.

Abstract :

 The process of adapting behaviour to current circumstances occurs over many timescales – we respond to immediate feedback to detect errors, we implement differing levels of cognitive control to adapt to that feedback, and we adjust effort over the hours of a task. A set of neurophysiological responses in the frontal lobes, including feedback responses and beta oscillations, as well as the dopaminergic system, are implicated in all of these levels of adaptation. I will show how these markers have multiple and differentiable roles at different timescales, using data from macaque monkeys providing longitudinal electrophysiology whilst performing cognitive tasks, and subsequently using a slow dopamine depletion.

Feedback potentials provide an immediate response that differentiates between different valences of feedback. This response might be thought to drive trial-by-trial control and adaptation, but in fact a slow dopamine depletion that removes the valence coding of these potentials does not impair trial-by-trial control. The potentials are therefore more likely associated with a longer-term motivational function.

Beta oscillations during the delay period (in which the upcoming decision is made) are modulated by both trial-by-trial control levels and also attentional effort changes across multiple trials within the session. Again, the trial-by-trial element of this response is not impacted by dopamine lesion, but the longer-term motivational element is. Indeed single trial analysis of these beta oscillations shows them to be burst phenomena (rather than a sustained oscillation). Analysis of burst properties reveals how beta oscillations can be independently modulated by different control requirements over different timescales. As such burst analysis is essential to a precise understanding of the true role of oscillatory phenomena.

Together these data reveal the neurophysiological basis of cognitive control functions in frontal cortex, and how similar markers can seemingly account for multiple timescales of adaptation.

Support: Marie Curie IEF to CREW: “Reversible Cognition” 273790; LabEx Cortex: ANR-11-LABX-0042; Fondation Neurodis; Fondation de France; Fondation CERAL; ANR.

Selected publications

Prefrontal Markers and Cognitive Performance Are Dissociated during Progressive Dopamine Lesion. Wilson CR, Vezoli J, Stoll FM, Faraut MC, Leviel V, Knoblauch K, Procyk E. PLoS Biol. 2016 Nov 8;14(11):e1002576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002576. PMID:27824858

Learning to learn about uncertain feedback.
Faraut MC, Procyk E, Wilson CR.
Learn Mem. 2016 Jan 19;23(2):90-8. doi: 10.1101/lm.039768.115.
PMID: 26787780

The Effects of Cognitive Control and Time on Frontal Beta Oscillations.
Stoll FM, Wilson CR, Faraut MC, Vezoli J, Knoblauch K, Procyk E.
Cereb Cortex. 2016 Apr;26(4):1715-32. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhv006.
PMID: 25638168

Midcingulate Motor Map and Feedback Detection: Converging Data from Humans and Monkeys.
Procyk E, Wilson CR, Stoll FM, Faraut MC, Petrides M, Amiez C.
Cereb Cortex. 2016 Feb;26(2):467-76. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu213.
PMID: 25217467

A unilateral medial frontal cortical lesion impairs trial and error learning without visual control.
Amiez C, Champod AS, Wilson CR, Procyk E, Petrides M.
Neuropsychologia. 2015 Aug;75:314-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.06.022.
PMID: 26100563

Increased DAT binding in the early stage of the dopaminergic lesion: a longitudinal [11C]PE2I binding study in the MPTP-monkey.
Vezoli J, Dzahini K, Costes N, Wilson CR, Fifel K, Cooper HM, Kennedy H, Procyk E.
Neuroimage. 2014 Nov 15;102 Pt 2:249-61. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.07.059.
PMID: 25108180 Free Article

Scientific focus :

Domain of research:
Behavioural neuroscience; neurophysiology; neurobiology of executive functions
Research interests:

'I study how the brain produces the sophisticated forms of cognition that allow human and macaque to achieve goals flexibly and efficiently. We use these capacities to adapt to and profit from our environment. My specific work focuses on the mechanisms at work in the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of cortex particularly developed in primate species. I study the ways in which different cortical regions interact with prefrontal cortex to produce flexible and efficient behaviour.Currently at SBRI I study whether and how cortical oscillations are implicated in these processes. Cortical oscillations are increasing thought to subserve interaction at different levels between assemblies in the brain. I study the changes in these oscillations and the related assemblies and during the early stages of Parkinson's disease. In a separate project, I am studying the very specific interactions of the anterior cingulate cortex with prefrontal cortex, as mediated by different neurotransmitter systems.' Twitter account

Education: DPhil: University of Oxford. “The roles of the prefrontal and temporal cortical areas in the temporal organization of events”

2012 - Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship2010 - Neurodis Fellowship