Dissociating task acquisition from expression during learning reveals latent knowledge

Kishore Kuchibhotla, Tom Hindmarsh Sten, Eleni S. Papadoyannis, Sarah Elnozahy, Kelly A. Fogelson, Rupesh Kumar, Yves Boubenec, Peter C Holland, Srdjan Ostojic, Robert C. Froemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Performance on cognitive tasks during learning is used to measure knowledge, yet it remains controversial since such testing is susceptible to contextual factors. To what extent does performance during learning depend on the testing context, rather than underlying knowledge? We trained mice, rats and ferrets on a range of tasks to examine how testing context impacts the acquisition of knowledge versus its expression. We interleaved reinforced trials with probe trials in which we omitted reinforcement. Across tasks, each animal species performed remarkably better in probe trials during learning and inter-animal variability was strikingly reduced. Reinforcement feedback is thus critical for learning-related behavioral improvements but, paradoxically masks the expression of underlying knowledge. We capture these results with a network model in which learning occurs during reinforced trials while context modulates only the read-out parameters. Probing learning by omitting reinforcement thus uncovers latent knowledge and identifies context- not “smartness”- as the major source of individual variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2151
JournalNature communications
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

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learning
acquisition
Reinforcement
Learning
Animals
Testing
reinforcement
animals
Rats
Masks
Feedback
Ferrets
probes
rats
mice
masks
Reinforcement (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Kuchibhotla, K., Hindmarsh Sten, T., Papadoyannis, E. S., Elnozahy, S., Fogelson, K. A., Kumar, R., ... Froemke, R. C. (2019). Dissociating task acquisition from expression during learning reveals latent knowledge. Nature communications, 10(1), [2151]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10089-0

Dissociating task acquisition from expression during learning reveals latent knowledge. / Kuchibhotla, Kishore; Hindmarsh Sten, Tom; Papadoyannis, Eleni S.; Elnozahy, Sarah; Fogelson, Kelly A.; Kumar, Rupesh; Boubenec, Yves; Holland, Peter C; Ostojic, Srdjan; Froemke, Robert C.

In: Nature communications, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2151, 01.12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kuchibhotla, K, Hindmarsh Sten, T, Papadoyannis, ES, Elnozahy, S, Fogelson, KA, Kumar, R, Boubenec, Y, Holland, PC, Ostojic, S & Froemke, RC 2019, 'Dissociating task acquisition from expression during learning reveals latent knowledge', Nature communications, vol. 10, no. 1, 2151. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10089-0
Kuchibhotla, Kishore ; Hindmarsh Sten, Tom ; Papadoyannis, Eleni S. ; Elnozahy, Sarah ; Fogelson, Kelly A. ; Kumar, Rupesh ; Boubenec, Yves ; Holland, Peter C ; Ostojic, Srdjan ; Froemke, Robert C. / Dissociating task acquisition from expression during learning reveals latent knowledge. In: Nature communications. 2019 ; Vol. 10, No. 1.
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