Prefrontal cortical plasticity during learning of cognitive tasks

Hua Tang, Mitchell R. Riley, Balbir Singh, Xue Lian Qi, David T. Blake, Christos Constantinidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Training in working memory tasks is associated with lasting changes in prefrontal cortical activity. To assess the neural activity changes induced by training, we recorded single units, multi-unit activity (MUA) and local field potentials (LFP) with chronic electrode arrays implanted in the prefrontal cortex of two monkeys, throughout the period they were trained to perform cognitive tasks. Mastering different task phases was associated with distinct changes in neural activity, which included recruitment of larger numbers of neurons, increases or decreases of their firing rate, changes in the correlation structure between neurons, and redistribution of power across LFP frequency bands. In every training phase, changes induced by the actively learned task were also observed in a control task, which remained the same across the training period. Our results reveal how learning to perform cognitive tasks induces plasticity of prefrontal cortical activity, and how activity changes may generalize between tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number90
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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