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Reward-Based Surprise Signals in Frontal Eye Field

Shteyn, Michael R (2023) Reward-Based Surprise Signals in Frontal Eye Field. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Predicting what comes next is important for survival. On rare occasions, strong expectations can be violated. This may elicit surprise, a belief state enabling an organism to respond to sudden changes in the environment. The focus of this work is an investigation into the brain’s response to surprising events. Specifically, we examine how neurons in the primate frontal eye field (FEF) – a prefrontal region involved in allocating spatial attention – are influenced by cues conveying surprising information about reward. We find that FEF is enhanced in response to reward-based surprises, regardless of whether surprises are better or worse than expected. We further characterize similarities and differences between good and bad surprise signals in FEF. Next, we test the hypothesis that reward-based surprise signals in FEF reflect the action of spatially-specific, as compared to spatially-nonspecific cognitive processes. We show that task-related FEF activity reflects the influence of both spatial processes, such as selective attention, and nonspatial processes, such as generalized arousal. In summary, this dissertation provides the first evidence of the impact of reward-based surprise on neuronal activity in FEF and demonstrates both spatial and nonspatial influences underlying the response.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Shteyn, Michael Rshteyn.m@pitt.edumrs167
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorOlson,
Committee ChairRunyan,
Committee MemberGandhi,
Committee MemberLee, Tai
Committee MemberSmith,
Committee MemberStauffer,
Committee MemberStuphorn,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 6 August 2023
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 177
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Neuroscience
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, reward prediction error, perception, neurobiology, surprise, prefrontal cortex
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 01:18
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 01:18

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