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Science. 2012 Oct 5;338(6103):132-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1226405.

In monkeys making value-based decisions, LIP neurons encode cue salience and not action value.

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  • 1Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon Institute, Room 115, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


In monkeys deciding between alternative saccadic eye movements, lateral intraparietal (LIP) neurons representing each saccade fire at a rate proportional to the value of the reward expected upon its completion. This observation has been interpreted as indicating that LIP neurons encode saccadic value and that they mediate value-based decisions between saccades. Here, we show that LIP neurons representing a given saccade fire strongly not only if it will yield a large reward but also if it will incur a large penalty. This finding indicates that LIP neurons are sensitive to the motivational salience of cues. It is compatible neither with the idea that LIP neurons represent action value nor with the idea that value-based decisions take place in LIP neurons.

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