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Poster presentation | Open | Published:

A simple model of cued T-Maze learning based on basal ganglia anatomy and sequence replay

I present a simple firing rate neural network model describing how a rat may learn to navigate a cued rewarded T-Maze. The model is based on a realistic approximation to the Basal Ganglia dopaminergic system anatomy including the 'Go' and 'No-Go' channels which project to the thalamus and substantia nigra and their differential feedback modulation by D1 and D2 dopamine receptors at the cortical-striatal synapses. The model includes an input from association layers in cortex or hippocampus where experienced sequences are replayed when the rat finds the reward location, as recently described by Foster and Wilson [1]. The sequence replay creates task and expert MSN neurons in the striatum with spatial response characteristics similar to those reported by Barnes et al [2] in dorsal striatum and Mulder et al [3] in ventral striatum. The system is able to produce expert neurons in striatum which specifically respond to cues and actions with strengths which reflects the reward predictabilities of the associated cues and actions. Such response modulation by reward predictability is well known in striatum [4]. In addition a simple action selection system is implemented so that the system is able to make a transition from a random choice 'exploratory' phase to a 'goal directed' phase as the learning proceeds. Some behavioural characteristics of the T-Maze learning are thereby reproduced.


  1. 1.

    Foster DA, Wilson MA: Reverse replay of behavioural sequences in hippocampal place cells during the awake state. Nature. 2006, 440: 680-683. 10.1038/nature04587.

  2. 2.

    Barnes TD, Kubota Y, Hu D, Jin DZ, Graybiel AM: Activity of striatal neurons reflects dynamic encoding and recoding of procedural memories. Nature. 2005, 437: 1158-10.1038/nature04053.

  3. 3.

    Mulder AB, Tabuchi E, Wiener SI: Neurons in hippocampal afferent zones of rat striatum parse routes in multi-pace segments during maze navigation. European Journal of Neuroscience. 2004, 19: 1923-1932. 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03301.x.

  4. 4.

    Hollerman JR, Tremblay L, Schultz W: Influence on reward expectation on behaviour-related neuronal activity in primate striatum. J Neurophysiol. 1998, 80: 947-963.

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Correspondence to Adam Ponzi.

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About this article


  • Basal Ganglion
  • Neural Network Model
  • Ventral Striatum
  • Dorsal Striatum
  • Feedback Modulation