Since optogenetics was introduced in 2005, fundamental progress has been made in our understanding of the neural processes central to higher-order functions such as perception, cognition and emotion. Until the inception of optogenetics, science was lacking neuromodulatory tools that could target specific populations of neurons with the spatial and temporal precision necessary for casually linking neural activity patterns to behavior. Optogenetics has also provided invaluable insights on the neural circuit elements affected in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and autism. Here we review experiments where optogenetics has been instrumental in adding new information about functions governing cognition, such as information processing. In addition, we review optogenetic findings shedding light on how changed information processing could underlie cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Brain Integration.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B.V.