Exploration of the noradrenergic system
While the BG might represent the central source of a general signal that controls both the SAT/motivation of decisions and the SAT/vigor of the selected action, an interesting perspective is to explore the role of neuromoludation in adjusting this signal. In particular the noradrenergic system could also contribute to the “construction” of the sense of urgency by modulating the subject’s attentional resources. I plan to start a collaboration with Dr. Hadj-Bouziane from the “ImpAct” lab in Lyon, to assess the role of the noradrenergic system in the modulation of urgency during goal-directed behavior. Our hypothesis is that through the regulation of the noradrenaline (NA) release during decision-making, the locus coeruleus modulates the “quality” (in terms of signal/noise ratio) of the urgency signal. The experiments currently conducted in Lyon involve fMRI scans of monkeys trained to perform a go/no go task with different levels of noradrenaline-reuptake inhibitor. My role in the project would be to simulate some data with the urgency-gating model and test the prediction that different NA levels influence the nature of urgency during this task.