Xinying Cai, Ph.D. (NYU Shanghai)
Assistant Professor of Neural and Cognitive Sciences (NYU Shanghai)
Global Network Assistant Professor (NYU)
*Note: This event is fully virtual*
“Specialized choice modules in the orbitofrontal cortex”
A defining characteristic of economic choice (EC) in contrast to single attribute choice (SC) is the subjective trade-off among multiple attributes of goods. It has been shown that the OFC harbors a persistent neuronal circuit supporting EC under different sensory inputs. We examined the specialization of this circuit by contrasting the coding of the same OFC neurons under EC and SC. In EC, OFC neurons largely encoded offer value, chosen value and choice outcome in goods space. Strikingly, these neurons were tuned out in SC while a complementary set of neurons encoded SC-related variables in a spatial reference frame. Moreover, value coding neurons in EC are anatomically clustered and the noise correlation among these neurons dropped significantly when the animal switched from EC to SC, suggesting altered neuronal interactions. Thus, EC and SC may be mapped onto separate modules in the OFC.
Xinying Cai is Assistant Professor of Neural and Cognitive Sciences at NYU Shanghai and Global Network Assistant Professor at NYU. He completed his PhD in Bioengineering at Arizona State University and postdoctoral training first with Daeyeol at Yale University then with Camillo Padoa-Schioppa at Washington University in St Louis. His lab’s current research focuses on understanding how abstract structures of choice tasks are acquired and represented in the prefrontal cortex for flexible choice behavior.