Understanding the circuit basis of cognitive functions using mouse models

Neurosci Res. 2020 Mar;152:44-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2019.12.009. Epub 2019 Dec 16.


Understanding how cognitive functions arise from computations occurring in the brain requires the ability to measure and perturb neural activity while the relevant circuits are engaged for specific cognitive processes. Rapid technical advances have led to the development of new approaches to transiently activate and suppress neuronal activity as well as to record simultaneously from hundreds to thousands of neurons across multiple brain regions during behavior. To realize the full potential of these approaches for understanding cognition, however, it is critical that behavioral conditions and stimuli are effectively designed to engage the relevant brain networks. Here, we highlight recent innovations that enable this combined approach. In particular, we focus on how to design behavioral experiments that leverage the ever-growing arsenal of technologies for controlling and measuring neural activity in order to understand cognitive functions.

Keywords: Calcium imaging; Cognitive function; Extracellular recording; Optogenetics; Psycometric behavior; System neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior Rating Scale
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Optogenetics / methods