Dr. Takayuki Yamashita
Fujita Health University, Japan
Invited by Naoya Takahashi (IINS)
Uncovering the Neuronal Mechanisms of Uninstructed Orofacial Movements in Reward-Based Learning Behaviors
During reward-based learning tasks, animals make uninstructed orofacial movements that influence brain activity during reward anticipation and acquisition. Using task-performing mice, we investigated the details of these movements and their neuronal mechanisms. Our results show that orofacial movements can be induced without any accompanying goal-directed actions. Moreover, we found that the orofacial motions upon reward-expecting cue presentation and those upon reward acquisition differed in amplitude and vigor and were distinguishable by a machine learning model. We also discovered that the mesolimbic dopamine pathway and the whisker primary motor cortex coordinate to drive these movements differentially for distinct movements. In this talk, I will provide an overview of our recent findings.