Causes and consequences of representational drift.
Current Opinion in Neurobiology
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Rule, M., O'Leary, T., & Harvey, C. D. (2019). Causes and consequences of representational drift.. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 58 141-147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2019.08.005
The nervous system learns new associations while maintaining memories over long periods, exhibiting a balance between flexibility and stability. Recent experiments reveal that neuronal representations of learned sensorimotor tasks continually change over days and weeks, even after animals have achieved expert behavioral performance. How is learned information stored to allow consistent behavior despite ongoing changes in neuronal activity? What functions could ongoing reconfiguration serve? We highlight recent experimental evidence for such representational drift in sensorimotor systems, and discuss how this fits into a framework of distributed population codes. We identify recent theoretical work that suggests computational roles for drift and argue that the recurrent and distributed nature of sensorimotor representations permits drift while limiting disruptive effects. We propose that representational drift may create error signals between interconnected brain regions that can be used to keep neural codes consistent in the presence of continual change. These concepts suggest experimental and theoretical approaches to studying both learning and maintenance of distributed and adaptive population codes.
This work is supported by the Human Frontier Science Program, ERC grant StG 716643 FLEXNEURO, and NIH grants (NS108410, NS089521, MH107620).
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (716643)
Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) (RGY0069/2017)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2019.08.005
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/298847
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Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/