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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fiona Woods

Some actions are innate or prewired (such as swallowing or breathing); others are learned anew throughout life, likely through a process of trial and error. We use electrophysiology, imaging, and optogenetics in behaving animals to understand how novel self-paced actions are generated, and how specific actions that lead to particular outcomes are selected. Dopamine is critical for the generation of novel actions, and plasticity in cortico-basal ganglia circuits is necessary for action selection. As actions are shaped they become organized into chunks. Neural substrates of parsing and concatenation of motor chunks emerge in basal ganglia circuits.