Neuro-dynamic mechanisms of cognitive flexibility at the cellular and microcircuit level in human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the most defining structure of the human brain. It harbors the neuronal circuitry that allows us to optimize our behavior in the face of uncertain, changing and open-ended environments. In this project, we will explore the cellular and microcircuit mechanisms in the human PFC that underlie context-dependent short-term memory maintenance, adaptive decision-making and cognitive multitasking, the hallmarks of cognitive flexibility. For this, we will use recently developed dense intracortical microelectrode recordings acquired from the dorsolateral PFC of neurosurgical patients who are operated awake for medical purposes. Our central hypothesis is that the representation and updating of behaviorally relevant information is implemented by task-dependent changes in the temporal coordination of neuronal activity in human PFC. This project will bring to FOR5159 a unique human-centered perspective on the neuro-dynamic mechanisms of cognitive flexibility and also provide crucial insights necessary for establishing shared species-independent principles of prefrontal cognitive functioning.