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Nature. 2012 Mar 14;484(7392):62-8. doi: 10.1038/nature10918.

Choice-specific sequences in parietal cortex during a virtual-navigation decision task.

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1
Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA. christopher_harvey@hms.harvard.edu

Abstract

The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has an important role in many cognitive behaviours; however, the neural circuit dynamics underlying PPC function are not well understood. Here we optically imaged the spatial and temporal activity patterns of neuronal populations in mice performing a PPC-dependent task that combined a perceptual decision and memory-guided navigation in a virtual environment. Individual neurons had transient activation staggered relative to one another in time, forming a sequence of neuronal activation spanning the entire length of a task trial. Distinct sequences of neurons were triggered on trials with opposite behavioural choices and defined divergent, choice-specific trajectories through a state space of neuronal population activity. Cells participating in the different sequences and at distinct time points in the task were anatomically intermixed over microcircuit length scales (<100 micrometres). During working memory decision tasks, the PPC may therefore perform computations through sequence-based circuit dynamics, rather than long-lived stable states, implemented using anatomically intermingled microcircuits.

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PMID:
22419153
PMCID:
PMC3321074
DOI:
10.1038/nature10918
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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