BEACON Seminar: Neural Replay Mechanisms Associated With Planning And Memory In Humans

Theories of neural replay propose that it supports a range of functions, most prominently planning and memory consolidation. Here, we test whether distinct signatures of replay in the same task are related to planning and memory preservation. We adapted a reward learning task wherein participants utilized structure knowledge for model-based evaluation, while at the same time had to maintain knowledge of two independent and randomly alternating task environments. We found that before choice, prospective replay strength was enhanced for the current task-relevant environment when a model-based planning strategy was beneficial. Following reward receipt, and consistent with a memory preservation role, replay for the alternative distal task environment was enhanced as a function of decreasing recency of experience with that environment. Our results provide support for key theoretical proposals regarding the functional role of replay and demonstrate that the relative strength of planning and memory-related signals are modulated by ongoing computational and task demands.