Reward perception guides all aspects of animal behavior. However, the relationship between the perceived value of a reward, the latent value of a reward, and the behavioral response remains unclear. Here we report that, given a choice between two sweet and chemically similar sugars-L- and D-arabinose-Drosophila melanogaster prefers D- over L-arabinose, but forms long-term memories of L-arabinose (the isomer present in ripening fruits) more reliably. Behavioral assays indicate that L-arabinose-generated memories require sugar receptor Gr43a, and calcium imaging and electrophysiological recording indicate that L- and D-arabinose differentially activate Gr43a-expressing neurons. We posit that the immediate valence of a reward is not always predictive of the long-term reinforcement value of that reward, and that a subset of sugar-sensing neurons may generate distinct representations of similar sugars, allowing for rapid assessment of the salient features of various sugar rewards and generation of reward-specific behaviors. However, how sensory neurons communicate information about L-arabinose quality and concentration-features relevant for long-term memory-remains unknown.
- Kausik Si
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Mani Ramaswami, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
© 2016, McGinnis et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) is an enigmatic region implicated in psychiatric and neurological disease, yet its role in cognition remains unclear. Human studies link PCC to episodic memory and default mode network (DMN), while findings from the non-human primate emphasize executive processes more associated with the cognitive control network (CCN) in humans. We hypothesized this difference reflects an important functional division between dorsal (executive) and ventral (episodic) PCC. To test this, we utilized human intracranial recordings of population and single unit activity targeting dorsal PCC during an alternated executive/episodic processing task. Dorsal PCC population responses were significantly enhanced for executive, compared to episodic, task conditions, consistent with the CCN. Single unit recordings, however, revealed four distinct functional types with unique executive (CCN) or episodic (DMN) response profiles. Our findings provide critical electrophysiological data from human PCC, bridging incongruent views within and across species, furthering our understanding of PCC function.
Understanding how thought emerges from the topographical structure of the cerebral cortex is a primary goal of cognitive neuroscience. Recent work has revealed a principal gradient of intrinsic connectivity capturing the separation of sensory-motor cortex from transmodal regions of the default mode network (DMN); this is thought to facilitate memory-guided cognition. However, studies have not explored how this dimension of connectivity changes when conceptual retrieval is controlled to suit the context. We used gradient decomposition of informational connectivity in a semantic association task to establish how the similarity in connectivity across brain regions changes during familiar and more original patterns of retrieval. Multivoxel activation patterns at opposite ends of the principal gradient were more divergent when participants retrieved stronger associations; therefore, when long-term semantic information is sufficient for ongoing cognition, regions supporting heteromodal memory are functionally separated from sensory-motor experience. In contrast, when less related concepts were linked, this dimension of connectivity was reduced in strength as semantic control regions separated from the DMN to generate more flexible and original responses. We also observed fewer dimensions within the neural response towards the apex of the principal gradient when strong associations were retrieved, reflecting less complex or varied neural coding across trials and participants. In this way, the principal gradient explains how semantic cognition is organised in the human cerebral cortex: the separation of DMN from sensory-motor systems is a hallmark of the retrieval of strong conceptual links that are culturally shared.