What are the neural circuits, and neural activity patterns, within the brain that causally implement the neural computations that we commonly associate with the terms “cognition” and “intelligence”? We here propose to perform a causal high-throughput screen of neural circuit targets to reveal how a cognitive behavior is implemented by the brain.
The ability to systematically activate and perturb specific circuits and pathways within the brain, for milliseconds to seconds at a time, would enable the ability to delineate the neural substrates of cognition-related brain functions in a time-resolved fashion, thus enabling new insights or even computational models of cognition-related brain computations. Accordingly, we have developed a suite of technologies that enable systematic silencing and activation of specific circuits and pathways, and thus high-throughput screening of the causal role that neural circuits contribute to behavior, in a time-resolved fashion. Our collaboration combines behavioral, physical, and computational approaches towards opening up an understanding of cognition at a circuit level.