20 Jul Brain circuits underlying category learning
Although categorizing stimuli is a basic cognitive ability, the neural mechanisms of categorization and category learning are poorly understood. Here, we conducted a proof of concept experiment and were able to show that mice can learn categorization of auditory stimuli. This allows us to use mice as an animal model for future categorization studies. We further investigated connections in the mouse’ brain between the auditory cortex and frontal cortical areas, responsible for high-level integration and behavior. Seeking connections underlying categorization, we identified projections from the auditory cortex, and especially, temporal association area (TeA), to the orbito-frontal cortex. We propose that the TeA serves as a fundamental region in auditory category perception and learning.