Mechanisms underlying flexible information flow across the brain
Karel Svoboda, Ph.D.
Director, Allen Institute:
Abstract: Neural computation and behavior are produced by shifting configurations of multi-regional neural networks, implemented by dynamic coupling between brain regions. We study the flow of information across brain regions in the context of decision-making. Decisions are held in memory until enacted, making them vulnerable to distracting sensory input. We show that selective and dynamic gating of information flow from sensory to motor cortex protects memory from interference during decision-making. Experimental data and data-driven models together show that attractor dynamics control how neural activity percolates across cortical regions during decision making and thereby protect short-term memory from distractors. Our study provides outlines of a general mechanism underlying flexible routing of information across the brain.