April 12, 2021

Spiking recurrent neural networks represent task-relevant neural sequences in rule-dependent computation

Prefrontal cortical neurons play in important roles in performing rule-dependent tasks and working memory-based decision making. Motivated by experimental data, we develop an excitatory-inhibitory spiking recurrent neural network (SRNN) to perform a rule-dependent two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) task. We imposed several important biological constraints onto the SRNN, and adapted the spike frequency adaptation (SFA) and SuperSpike gradient methods to update the network parameters. These proposed strategies enabled us to train the SRNN efficiently and overcome the vanishing gradient problem during error back propagation through time. The trained SRNN produced rule-specific tuning in single-unit representations, showing rule-dependent population dynamics that strongly resemble experimentally observed data in rodent and monkey. Under varying test conditions, we further manipulated the parameters or configuration in computer simulation setups and investigated the impacts of rule-coding error, delay duration, weight connectivity and sparsity, and excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance on both task performance and neural representations. Overall, our modeling study provides a computational framework to understand neuronal representations at a fine timescale during working memory and cognitive control.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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