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Neuroreport. 2010 Mar 31;21(5):367-70. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32833776a3.

Reward acts as a signal to control delay-period activity in delayed-response tasks.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Science, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, Japan.


Prefrontal delay-period activity represents a neural mechanism for the active maintenance of information and needs to be controlled by some signal to appropriately operate working memory. To examine whether reward-delivery acts as this signal, the effects of delay-period activity in response to unexpected reward-delivery were examined by analyzing single-neuron activity recorded in the primate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Among neurons that showed delay-period activity, 34% showed inhibition of this activity in response to unexpected reward-delivery. The delay-period activity of these neurons was affected by the expectation of reward-delivery. The strength of the reward signal in controlling the delay-period activity is related to the strength of the effect of reward information on the delay-period activity. These results indicate that reward-delivery acts as a signal to control delay-period activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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