Reward Timing and Its Expression by Inhibitory Interneurons in the Mouse Primary Visual Cortex

Kevin J. Monk, Simon Allard, Marshall G. Hussain Shuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary sensory cortex has historically been studied as a low-level feature detector, but has more recently been implicated in many higher-level cognitive functions. For instance, after an animal learns that a light predicts water at a fixed delay, neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) can produce "reward timing activity"(i.e., spike modulation of various forms that relate the interval between the visual stimulus and expected reward). Local manipulations to V1 implicate it as a site of learning reward timing activity (as opposed to simply reporting timing information from another region via feedback input). However, the manner by which V1 then produces these representations is unknown. Here, we combine behavior, in vivo electrophysiology, and optogenetics to investigate the characteristics of and circuit mechanisms underlying V1 reward timing in the head-fixed mouse. We find that reward timing activity is present in mouse V1, that inhibitory interneurons participate in reward timing, and that these representations are consistent with a theorized network architecture. Together, these results deepen our understanding of V1 reward timing and the manner by which it is produced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4662-4676
Number of pages15
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 30 2020


  • interneurons
  • primary visual cortex
  • reward
  • sensory cortex
  • timing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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