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J Neurosci. 2006 Jul 12;26(28):7468-76.

Effects of reward and behavioral context on neural activity in the primate inferior colliculus.

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  • 1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


Neural activity in the inferior colliculus (IC) likely plays an integral role in the processing of various auditory parameters, such as sound location and frequency. However, little is known about the extent to which IC neural activity may be influenced by the context in which sounds are presented. In this study, we examined neural activity of IC neurons in the rhesus monkey during an auditory task in which a sound served as a localization target for a saccade. Correct performance was rewarded, and the magnitude of the reward was varied in some experiments. Neural activity was also assessed during a task in which the monkey maintained fixation of a light while ignoring the sound, as well as when sounds were presented in the absence of any task. We report that neural activity increased late in the trial in the saccade task in 58% of neurons and that the level of activity throughout the trials could be modulated by reward magnitude for many neurons. The late-trial neural activity similarly increased in the fixation task in 39% of the neurons tested for this task but was not observed when sounds were presented in the absence of a behavioral task and reward. Together, these results suggest that a reward-related signal influences neural activity in the IC.

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