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Cereb Cortex. 2012 May;22(5):1052-67. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhr178. Epub 2011 Jul 17.

Neural correlates of perceptual decision making before, during, and after decision commitment in monkey frontal eye field.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6074, USA. lding@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

Perceptual decision making requires a complex set of computations to implement, evaluate, and adjust the conversion of sensory input into a categorical judgment. Little is known about how the specific underlying computations are distributed across and within different brain regions. Using a reaction-time (RT) motion direction-discrimination task, we show that a unique combination of decision-related signals is represented in monkey frontal eye field (FEF). Some responses were modulated by choice, motion strength, and RT, consistent with a temporal accumulation of sensory evidence. These responses converged to a threshold level prior to behavioral responses, reflecting decision commitment. Other responses continued to be modulated by motion strength even after decision commitment, possibly providing a memory trace to help evaluate and adjust the decision process with respect to rewarding outcomes. Both response types were encoded by FEF neurons with both narrow- and broad-spike waveforms, presumably corresponding to inhibitory interneurons and excitatory pyramidal neurons, respectively, and with diverse visual, visuomotor, and motor properties, albeit with different frequencies. Thus, neurons throughout FEF appear to make multiple contributions to decision making that only partially overlap with contributions from other brain regions. These results help to constrain how networks of brain regions interact to generate perceptual decisions.

PMID:
21765183
PMCID:
PMC3328342
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhr178
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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