Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Rule learning enhances structural plasticity of long-range axons in frontal cortex.

  • Author(s): Johnson, Carolyn
  • Peckler, Hannah
  • Tai, Lung-Hao
  • Wilbrecht, Linda
  • et al.
Abstract

Rules encompass cue-action-outcome associations used to guide decisions and strategies in a specific context. Subregions of the frontal cortex including the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) are implicated in rule learning, although changes in structural connectivity underlying rule learning are poorly understood. We imaged OFC axonal projections to dmPFC during training in a multiple choice foraging task and used a reinforcement learning model to quantify explore-exploit strategy use and prediction error magnitude. Here we show that rule training, but not experience of reward alone, enhances OFC bouton plasticity. Baseline bouton density and gains during training correlate with rule exploitation, while bouton loss correlates with exploration and scales with the magnitude of experienced prediction errors. We conclude that rule learning sculpts frontal cortex interconnectivity and adjusts a thermostat for the explore-exploit balance.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View