For many species, the ability to use information about sound to guide behavior is important for obtaining rewards such as food, mates, or respite from danger. The neural pathways that associate sounds with actions that will produce reward are not well understood. The striatum, a brain region which receives sound information from the auditory cortex and auditory thalamus, and which can drive behavior via its outputs in the basal ganglia, represents a potential key hub in the pathway between sound and action.
In this thesis, I investigate the role of striatal circuits in the context of sound-guided behavior, and compare parallel corticostriatal and thalamostriatal pathways that provide auditory information to the striatum. In Chapter II, I inactivate the striatum while animals perform a frequency discrimination task, and find that this manipulation leads to a strong deficit in task performance. In Chapter III, I compare the information about sounds sent to the striatum from the auditory cortex and auditory thalamus. I find that, while these pathways convey frequency information to the striatum with similar fidelity, they have different representations of temporal modulations in sound amplitude. In Chapter IV I present a behavioral task that could be used to evaluate the relative contribution of the corticostriatal and thalamostriatal pathways to discriminations of different sound features. Finally, Chapter V provides a review of the role of cortical and subcortical pathways in other behavioral contexts, especially in tasks that require rapid flexibility.
|Advisor:||Niell, Cristopher, Jaramillo, Santiago|
|Commitee:||Doe, Chris, Posner, Michael, Wehr, Michael|
|School:||University of Oregon|
|Department:||Department of Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-B 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Auditory cortex, Auditory decision making, Auditory thalamus, Neural coding, Pathway-specific, Striatum|
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