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- TL;DR: Fast learning via episodic memory verified by a biologically plausible framework for prefrontal cortex-basal ganglia-hippocampus (PFC-BG) circuit
- Abstract: A typical experiment to study cognitive function is to train animals to perform tasks, while the researcher records the electrical activity of the animals neurons. The main obstacle faced, when using this type of electrophysiological experiment to uncover the circuit mechanisms underlying complex behaviors, is our incomplete access to relevant circuits in the brain. One promising approach is to model neural circuits using an artificial neural network (ANN), which can provide complete access to the “neural circuits” responsible for a behavior. More recently, reinforcement learning models have been adopted to understand the functions of cortico-basal ganglia circuits as reward-based learning has been found in mammalian brain. In this paper, we propose a Biologically-plausible Actor-Critic with Episodic Memory (B-ACEM) framework to model a prefrontal cortex-basal ganglia-hippocampus (PFC-BG) circuit, which is verified to capture the behavioral findings from a well-known perceptual decision-making task, i.e., random dots motion discrimination. This B-ACEM framework links neural computation to behaviors, on which we can explore how episodic memory should be considered to govern future decision. Experiments are conducted using different settings of the episodic memory and results show that all patterns of episodic memories can speed up learning. In particular, salient events are prioritized to propagate reward information and guide decisions. Our B-ACEM framework and the built-on experiments give inspirations to both designs for more standard decision-making models in biological system and a more biologically-plausible ANN.
- Keywords: neuroscience, cognitive science, memory, perception