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The role of the ventral pallidum and globus pallidus in motivation and outcome evaluation

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The Zangwill Club continues online in these turbulent times with the second talk of the Term via Zoom.

This Friday 15th of May at 4 pm Greenwich Time we will have the Second Zangwill Lockdown Talk by Dr Marcus Stephenson-Jones

Title:  "The role of the ventral pallidum and globus pallidus in motivation and outcome evaluation."

” The basal ganglia play a critical role in reinforcement learning but while a lot is known about the mechanisms for learning, comparatively little is known about what is being learnt in these nuclei. To address this our lab is interested in understanding what different populations of basal ganglia output nuclei encode and determining how they contribute to behaviour. In this talk I will present our recent findings that characterized two output nuclei, the ventral pallidum and the habenula-projecting globus pallidus. I’ll show that the activity of separate populations of neurons in the ventral pallidum are correlated with incentive and aversive salience and these populations drive motivated behaviour. In contrast, I’ll show neurons in the habenula-projecting globus pallidus encode reward prediction errors and are critical for evaluating action outcomes. “

The Zangwill Club will start at 4pm with an afternoon coffee or tea (virtually served) and split between 2 rooms, the “Talk to Marcus Room” and the “social have a cuppa room”. At 4.30pm we will start the Talk (one Hour) followed by 20-30 minutes of questions as usual.

Mini Bio, Dr Marcus Stephenson-Jones

PhD with Sten Grillner at the Karolinska institute in Sweden, studied the evolution of the basal ganglia

Postdoc with Bo Li at Cold Spring harbor, investigated the role of the basal ganglia in motivation and evaluating action outcomes.

Group leader at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, studying reinforcement learning mechanisms in the basal ganglia.

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