The ability to make flexible decisions according to different behavioral contexts is a hallmark of cognition. A central question in the neuroscience of flexible decision-making is to what extent different types of decisions are carried out by similar or different brain circuits. To understand this, I have been comparing three different but related tasks, in terms of the activity across the dorsal cortex measured with widefield Ca2+ imaging, and the effects of optogenetically inactivating different brain areas. The results suggest that tasks with higher cognitive demands engage more distributed cortical circuits, with less correlated activity across different cortical regions. More generally, they suggest that changes in the underlying task computations result in a reorganization of whole-cortical activity patterns.
I am also following up on these findings to understand what is their cellular basis, using a two-photon mesoscope to image from multiple areas simultaneously with cellular resolution.