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J Neurosci. 2012 Oct 3;32(40):13805-18. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2200-12.2012.

Effects of decision variables and intraparietal stimulation on sensorimotor oscillatory activity in the human brain.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3UD, United Kingdom.


To decide effectively, information must not only be integrated from multiple sources, but it must be distributed across the brain if it is to influence structures such as motor cortex that execute choices. Human participants integrated information from multiple, but only partially informative, cues in a probabilistic reasoning task in an optimal manner. We tested whether lateralization of alpha- and beta-band oscillatory brain activity over sensorimotor cortex reflected decision variables such as the sum of the evidence provided by observed cues, a key quantity for decision making, and whether this could be dissociated from an update signal reflecting processing of the most recent cue stimulus. Alpha- and beta-band activity in the electroencephalogram reflected the logarithm of the likelihood ratio associated with the each piece of information witnessed, and the same quantity associated with the previous cues. Only the beta-band, however, reflected the most recent cue in a manner that suggested it reflected updating processes associated with cue processing. In a second experiment, transcranial magnetic stimulation-induced disruption was used to demonstrate that the intraparietal sulcus played a causal role both in decision making and in the appearance of sensorimotor beta-band activity.

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