40th CiNet Monthly Seminar: Andrew Jackson “While you were sleeping – A hypothesis about off-line learning”

CiNet Monthly Seminar

November 6, 2019
CiNet 1F Conference Room

“While you were sleeping – A hypothesis about off-line learning and the cerebellum”

Andrew Jackson
Newcastle University

Host : Nobuhiro Hagura (Ikegaya G)

Anecdotally, we know that a difficult problem can often be solved by ‘sleeping on it’, but the mechanisms of off-line learning are unclear. In this talk, I will discuss evidence from human behavioural experiments and wireless electrophysiological recording in non-human primates that suggests sleep-dependent performance gains derive from cerebellar forward models. Put simply, during the day we learn ‘if I do x, then y happens’, while in sleep we invert this to learn ‘if I want y to happen, then I should do x’. This mechanism may be supported by coupled spindle oscillations mediating information transfer via cerebello-thalamo-cortical pathways, and represents a powerful, computationally-efficient solution to problems inherent in model-free reinforcement learning. Finally, I will speculate that this hypothesis may link observed learning deficits and reduced spindle density in conditions linked to cerebellar dysfunction including schizophrenia and autism.