Abstract

Population coding, where neurons with broad and overlapping firing rate tuning curves collectively encode information about a stimulus, is a common feature of sensory systems. We use decoding methods and measured properties of NMDA-mediated LTP induction to study the impact of long-term potentiation of synapses between the neurons of such a coding array. We find that, due to a temporal asymmetry in the induction of NMDA-mediated LTP, firing patterns in a neuronal array that initially represent the current value of a sensory input will, after training, provide an experienced-based prediction of that input instead. We compute how this prediction arises from and depends on the training experience. We also show how the encoded prediction can be used to generate learned motor sequences, such as the movement of a limb. This involves a novel form of memory recall that is driven by the motor response so that it automatically generates new information at a rate appropriate for the task being performed.