New Miller Lab paper in press and online at Neuron:

Antzoulatos EG and Miller EK  (in press) Increases in Functional Connectivity between Prefrontal Cortex and Striatum during Category Learning. Neuron, in press.

Animals were trained to learn new category groupings by trial and error.  Once they started to “get” the categories, there was an increase in beta-band synchrony between the prefrontal cortex and striatum, two brain areas critical for learning.  By the time the categories were well-learned, the beta synchrony between the areas became category-specific, that is, unique sets of sites in the prefrontal cortex and striatum showed increased beta synchrony for the two different categories.  This suggests that synchronization of brain rhythms can quickly establish new functional brain circuits and thus support cognitive flexibility, a hallmark of intelligence.

MIT Press release:
Synchronized brain waves enable rapid learning
MIT study finds neurons that hum together encode new information.

About the Author

The Miller Lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of the high-level cognitive functions that underlie complex goal-directed behavior.