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date: 01 March 2024

The Neural Basis of Behavioral Sequences in Cortical and Subcortical Circuitslocked

The Neural Basis of Behavioral Sequences in Cortical and Subcortical Circuitslocked

  • Katherine E. ConenKatherine E. ConenBrown University
  •  and Theresa M. DesrochersTheresa M. DesrochersDepartments of Neuroscience, Psychiatry, and Human Behavior, Brown University

Summary

Sequences of actions and experiences are a central part of daily life in many species. Sequences consist of a set of ordered steps with a distinct beginning and end. They are defined by the serial order and relationships between items, though not necessarily by precise timing intervals. Sequences can be composed from a wide range of elements, including motor actions, perceptual experiences, memories, complex behaviors, or abstract goals. However, despite this variation, different types of sequences may share common features in neural coding. Examining the neural responses that support sequences is important not only for understanding the sequential behavior in daily life but also for investigating the array of diseases and disorders that impact sequential processes and the impact of therapeutics used to treat them. Research into the neural coding of sequences can be organized into the following broad categories: responses to ordinal position, coding of adjacency and inter-item relationships, boundary responses, and gestalt coding (representation of the sequence as a whole). These features of sequence coding have been linked to changes in firing rate patterns and neuronal oscillations across a range of cortical and subcortical brain areas and may be integrated in the lateral prefrontal cortex. Identification of these coding schemes has laid out an outline for understanding how sequences are represented at a neural level. Expanding from this work, future research faces fundamental questions about how these coding schemes are linked together to generate the complex range of sequential processes that influence cognition and behavior across animal species.

Subjects

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Motor Systems
  • Sensory Systems

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