The basal ganglia, a collection of subcortical nuclei, have long been implicated in both motor function and dysfunction. It has been proposed that the basal ganglia form a centralized action selection circuit, resolving conflict between multiple neural systems competing for access to the final common motor pathway formed by the brainstem and spinal cord. Numerous computational models have shown how the basal ganglia’s internal circuitry seems configured to act as a selection mechanism.
This tutorial will introduce the model of Gurney et al (2001a,b), which has formed the basis for a successful line of further models. We will use it to illustrate how to move from the neuroscience data to a model, the design choices involved in modelling, and the practicalities of coding and testing that model. In particular we will look at how this model epitomises the “middle-out” approach of simultaneously combining biological constraints (“bottom-up”) and functional hypotheses (“top-down”).
Following this, we will look at how such a model can spawn a series of successors, through either extending the scope of the neural system included or developing the model at further levels of detail.
Gurney, K.; Prescott, T. J. & Redgrave, P. (2001a) A computational model of action selection in the basal ganglia I: A new functional anatomy Biological Cybernetics, 85, 401-410
Gurney, K.; Prescott, T. J. & Redgrave, P. (2001b) A computational model of action selection in the basal ganglia II: Analysis and simulation of behaviour Biological Cybernetics, 85, 411-423
Humphries, M. D. & Gurney, K. N. (2002) The role of intra-thalamic and thalamocortical circuits in action selection. Network, 13, 131-156
Humphries, M. D.; Stewart, R. D. & Gurney, K. N. (2006) A physiologically plausible model of action selection and oscillatory activity in the basal ganglia J Neurosci, 26, 12921-12942