RIKEN BRAIN SCIENCE INSTITUTE
RESEARCH OVERVIEW
SPECIFIC PROJECTS
NEURAL CIRCUITRY OF AVERSIVE TEACHING SIGNALS

We have a long-standing interest in defining the neural circuits which carry aversive information from the peripheral world to the brain to implement plasticity
and learned changes in behavior. These studies are focused on the fear conditioning system and understanding the teaching signal circuits that trigger memory storage underlying this form of learning. In addition to defining the physical structure of these circuits, we also aim to determine how circuit interactions give rise to information processing in neurons within these circuits.

 
NEUROMODULATORY REGULATION OF ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING AND MEMORY

Neuromodulatory systems are activated by salient and emotional experiences and strongly regulate learning and memory processes. We are studying how these systems modulate fear learning and memory
and participate in aversive teaching signal processing and neural plasticity. Our goals are to define general principles by which neuromodulators regulate neural processing and plasticity mediating memory formation.


 
LEARNING AND DECISION MAKING IN A COMPLEX WORLD

Learning in the real world is complex and requires the integration of multiple sources of sensory and motor information. This information is then used to make predictions about the future and guide adaptive behavioral decisions. In these studies we are examining the behavioral and neural mechanisms that animals use to solve complex, aversively motivated pavlovian and instrumental learning tasks.