Current theories posit that memories encoded during experiences are subsequently consolidated into longer-term storage. Hippocampal sharp-wave-ripple (SWR) events have been linked to this consolidation process during sleep, but SWRs also occur during awake immobility, where their role remains unclear. We report that awake SWR rates at the reward site are inversely related to the prevalence of vicarious trial and error (VTE) behaviors, thought to be involved in deliberation processes. SWR rates were diminished immediately after VTE behaviors and an increase in the rate of SWR events at the reward site predicted a decrease in subsequent VTE behaviors at the choice point. Furthermore, SWR disruptions increased VTE behaviors. These results suggest an inverse relationship between SWRs and VTE behaviors and suggest that awake SWRs and associated planning and memory consolidation mechanisms are engaged specifically in the context of higher levels of behavioral certainty.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants MH080318 (A.D.R.), MH090188 (L.M.F.), and MH100284 (S.P.J.), as well as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship ( FG-2015-65675 , S.P.J.) and a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant ( 23566 , S.P.J.).
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.