Decision making is often driven by the subjective value of available options, a value which is formed through experience. To support this fundamental behavior, the brain must encode and maintain the subjective value. To investigate the area specificity and plasticity of value coding, we trained mice in a value-based decision task and imaged neural activity in 6 cortical areas with cellular resolution. History- and value-related signals were widespread across areas, but their strength and temporal patterns differed. In expert mice, the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) uniquely encoded history- and value-related signals with persistent population activity patterns across trials. This unique encoding of RSC emerged during task learning with a strong increase in more distant history signals. Acute inactivation of RSC selectively impaired the reward-history-based behavioral strategy. Our results indicate that RSC flexibly changes its history coding and persistently encodes value-related signals to support adaptive behaviors.
Keywords: decision making; history; motor cortex; optogenetics; plasticity; posterior parietal cortex; retrosplenial cortex; sensory cortex; two-photon; value.
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