We (Antoulatos and Miller) show increased beta-band synchrony between (but not within) the prefrontal cortex and striatum during category learning.  By the time the categories were fully learned, the beta synchrony became category-specific.  That is, different patterns of prefrontal cortex-striatum recording sites showed increased beta synchrony for one category or the other.  Thus, category learning may depend on formation of oscillatory synchrony-aided functional circuits between the prefrontal cortex and striatum.  Further, causality analysis suggested that the striatum exerted a greater influence on the prefrontal cortex than the other way around.  This supports models positing that the basal ganglia “train” the prefrontal cortex (Pasupathy and Miller, 2005; Seger and Miller, 2010).

Antzoulatos, E.G. and Miller, E.K. (2014) “Increases in functional connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and striatum during category learning.” Neuron, 83:216-225  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.005  View PDF

For further reading:

Pasupathy, A. and Miller, E.K. (2005) Different time courses for learning-related activity in the prefrontal cortex and striatum. Nature, 433:873-876. View PDF »

Antzoulatos,E.G. and Miller, E.K. (2011) Differences between neural activity in prefrontal cortex and striatum during learning of novel, abstract categories. Neuron. 71(2): 243-249. View PDF »

Seger, C.A. and Miller, E.K. (2010) Category learning in the brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, Vol. 33: 203-219. View PDF »

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. ekmillerlab.mit.edu