Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Most behaviors unfold in time and include a sequence of submovements or cognitive activities. In addition, most behaviors are automatic and repeated daily throughout life. Yet, relatively little is known about the neurobiology of automatic sequence production. Past research suggests a gradual transfer from the associative striatum to the sensorimotor striatum, but a number of more recent studies challenge this role of the BG in automatic sequence production. In this article, we propose a new neurocomputational model of automatic sequence production in which the main role of the BG is to train cortical–cortical connections within the premotor areas that are responsible for automatic sequence production. The new model is used to simulate four different data sets from human and nonhuman animals, including (1) behavioral data (e.g., RTs), (2) electrophysiology data (e.g., single-neuron recordings), (3) macrostructure data (e.g., TMS), and (4) neurological circuit data (e.g., inactivation studies). We conclude with a comparison of the new model with existing models of automatic sequence production and discuss a possible new role for the BG in automaticity and its implication for Parkinson's disease.