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The formation of habits: The implicit supervision of Basal Ganglia


Objectives: If basal ganglia are widely accepted to participate in the high-level cognitive function of decision-making, their role is less clear regarding the formation of habits. We introduce a computational model that can solve a simple two arm-bandit task, in order to explore how habits are formed and expressed. Methods & Results: Our model implements the cortical-basal-thalamic closed loop, using reinforcement learning and explicit valuation of the outcome (Guthrie et al. (2013)). Hebbian learning has been added at the cortical level such that the model learns each time a move is issued, rewarded or not. Then, by inhibiting the output nuclei of the model (GPi), we show how learning has been transferred from the basal ganglia to the cortex, simply as a consequence of the statistics of the choice. Because best (in the sense of most rewarded) actions are chosen more often, this directly impacts the amount of Hebbian learning and lead to the formation of habits within the cortex. Conclusions: These results have been confirmed in monkeys (submitted at the time of writing) doing the same tasks where the BG has been inactivated using muscimol. This tends to show that the basal ganglia implicitly teach the cortex in order for it to learn the values of new options. In the end, the cortex is able to solve the task perfectly, even if it exhibits slower reaction times.
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hal-01238333 , version 1 (04-01-2016)


  • HAL Id : hal-01238333 , version 1


Meropi Topalidou, Camille Piron, Daisuke Kase, Thomas Boraud, Nicolas P. Rougier. The formation of habits: The implicit supervision of Basal Ganglia. FENS Featured Regional Meeting 2015, Oct 2015, Thessaloniki, Greece. ⟨hal-01238333⟩
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