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Keywords:

  • association memory;
  • imprinting;
  • passive avoidance task;
  • reinforcement learning;
  • sensori-motor coordination

Abstract

The archistriatum mediates a neural pathway from the medial part of intermediate hyperstriatum ventrale (in the dorsal pallium) to the lobus parolfactorius (in the medial striatum), thus is possibly involved in memory formation in the domestic chick. To elucidate the functional roles, we examined single neuron activities from archistriatum in unconstrained chicks during execution of a GO/NOGO task. In this task, a brief motor sound was given as initial cue, and immediately followed by presentation of a coloured bead. Chick was required to recall the memorized associations between the colour and reward, and pecked at the bead to gain food after a delay (GO trials) or stayed not pecking (NOGO trials). The ventral part of intermediate archistriatum proved to contain a group of neurons that selectively responded to the reward-associated colours before the reward was actually presented, possibly coding the memorized associations. Another group of neurons fired during the reward period, thus could code aspects of the food reward. Yet another group of neurons started to fire immediately on the cue sound and prior to the cued movements nonselectively in both GO and NOGO trials, thus could be involved in the sensori-motor link between the sound and the targeted body movements. It is concluded that even a subregion of archistriatum contains diverse neural codes for memorized associations and food rewards, and neural codes of movements cued by sounds, suggesting that archistriatum is a complex of different functional systems, possibly corresponding to striatum, limbic amygdala, and prefrontal cortex in mammals.