Lecture: Albert Compte
Prefrontal network dynamics underlie the precision of spatial working memory
Theoretical Neurobiology Group , Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain
Prefrontal persistent activity during the delay of spatial working memory tasks is thought to maintain spatial location in memory. A bump attractor computational model can account for this physiology and its relation to behavior. However, direct experimental evidence linking parameters of prefrontal firing to the memory report in individual trials is lacking, and to date no demonstration exists that bump attractor dynamics underlies spatial working memory. In this talk I will present analyses of prefrontal recordings in monkeys engaged in spatial working memory tasks and demonstrate model-derived predictive relationships between the variability of prefrontal neural activity in the delay and the fine details of recalled spatial location, evident in trial-to-trial imprecise oculomotor responses. The results support a bump attractor model for spatial working memory maintenance instantiated in persistent prefrontal activity. The findings reinforce persistent activity as a basis for spatial working memory, provide evidence for a continuous prefrontal representation of memorized space, and offer the first experimental support for bump attractor dynamics mediating cognitive tasks in the cortex.