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Paper   IPM / Cognitive / 15491
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Prefrontal Cortex Represents Long-Term Memory of Object Values for Months
1.  A. Ghazizadeh
2.  S. Hong
3.  O. Hikosaka
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Current Biology
  Vol.:  28
  Year:  2018
  Pages:   2206-2217
  Supported by:  IPM
As a central hub for cognitive control, prefrontal cortex (PFC) is thought to utilize memories. However, unlike working or short-term memory, the neuronal representation of long-term memory in PFC has not been systematically investigated. Using single-unit recordings in macaques, we show that PFC neurons rapidly update and maintain responses to objects based on short-term reward history. Interestingly, after repeated object-reward association, PFC neurons continue to show value-biased responses to objects even in the absence of reward. This value-biased response is retained for several months after training and is resistant to extinction and to interference from new object-reward learning for many complex objects (>90). Accordingly, the monkeys remember the values of the learned objects for several months in separate testing. These findings reveal that in addition to flexible short-term and low-capacity memories, primate PFC represents stable long-term and high-capacity memories, which could prioritize valuable objects far into the future.

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