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Hippocampal Contributions to Control: The Third Way
Mate Lengyel · Peter Dayan

Thu Dec 06 10:40 AM -- 11:00 AM (PST) @

Recent experimental studies have focused on the specialization of different neural structures for different types of instrumental behavior. Recent theoretical work has provided normative accounts for why there should be more than one control system, and how the output of different controllers can be integrated. Two particlar controllers have been identified, one associated with a forward model and the prefrontal cortex and a second associated with computationally simpler, habitual, actor-critic methods and part of the striatum. We argue here for the normative appropriateness of an additional, but so far marginalized control system, associated with episodic memory, and involving the hippocampus and medial temporal cortices. We analyze in depth a class of simple environments to show that episodic control should be useful in a range of cases characterized by complexity and inferential noise, and most particularly at the very early stages of learning, long before habitization has set in. We interpret data on the transfer of control from the hippocampus to the striatum in the light of this hypothesis.

Author Information

Mate Lengyel (University of Cambridge)
Peter Dayan (Gatsby Unit, UCL)

I am Director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London. I studied mathematics at the University of Cambridge and then did a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, specialising in associative memory and reinforcement learning. I did postdocs with Terry Sejnowski at the Salk Institute and Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto, then became an Assistant Professor in Brain and Cognitive Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to UCL.

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