Néstor Parga, Luis Serrano-Fernández, and Joan Falcó-Roget

Synaptic plasticity allows cortical circuits to learn new tasks and to adapt to changing environments. How do cortical circuits use plasticity to acquire functions such as decision-making or working memory? Neurons are connected in complex ways, forming recurrent neural networks, and learning modifies the strength of their connections. Moreover, neurons communicate emitting brief discrete electric signals. Here we describe how to train recurrent neural networks in tasks like those used to train animals in neuroscience laboratories and how computations emerge in the trained networks. Surprisingly, artificial networks and real brains can use similar computational strategies.