Neural code and cognitive functions


Thomas Boraud CNRS Bordeaux
Sargolini Francesca (Marseille).

Since the resurgence of electrophysiology as an investigative method, secondary to the development of multi-electrode recording techniques, its applications to the study of cognitive functions have continued to grow. Introduced in France at the start of the decade, these methods have been applied by the teams associated with the GDR to learning and spatial memory, which involve the medial temporal lobe networks (C Lemoine, X Leikugel, B Poucet, S Wiener) and decision-making processes involving the anterior cortex and basal ganglia (T Boraud, D Boussaoud, P Burbaud, E Procyk, S Ravel). These methods make it possible not only to multiply the number of neurons recorded simultaneously during the execution of a task, but also to analyse the interactions between different structures. The study of these functions requires the implementation of protocols in awake and behaving animals (rodents and primates). This implies specific constraints in terms of miniaturisation (especially for rodents), ergonomics and acquisition of behavioural parameters.

A new dimension concerns the correlation with behavioural parameters, which often involves non-linear laws and therefore requires the use of multi-parameter theoretical models.

These specificities are added to the general problems and constraints associated with the use of the multi-electrode methods developed above, particularly in terms of standardisation. Our participation in this GDR will enable us to pool our experience in order to rationalise our analysis tools and the training of our teams. We will also interact with teams using these methods for other approaches in order to strengthen our common points (hardware and software requirements) and set up collaborations on the more specific aspects that concern us.