Prof. Ilana Witten
Specialized and spatially organized dopamine signals
Abstract: I will describe our recently published work showing surprising heterogeneity at the single-cell level in the dopamine system based on 2-photon calcium imaging during a virtual reality decision-making task, contradicting a classic view of a homogenous reinforcement signal in the dopamine system. I will then show newer unpublished work showing that spikes can be accurately inferred from calcium imaging in dopamine neurons, which suggests that the recording modality is not the source of the discrepancy with the classic view. Finally, I will discuss new work (in collaboration with Prof. Nathaniel Daw) attempting to reconcile this newly observed heterogeneity with classic models regarding the neural instantiation of reinforcement learning.