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Nat Neurosci. 2012 Dec;15(12):1729-35. doi: 10.1038/nn.3248. Epub 2012 Oct 28.

A supramodal accumulation-to-bound signal that determines perceptual decisions in humans.

Author information

1
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Abstract

In theoretical accounts of perceptual decision-making, a decision variable integrates noisy sensory evidence and determines action through a boundary-crossing criterion. Signals bearing these very properties have been characterized in single neurons in monkeys, but have yet to be directly identified in humans. Using a gradual target detection task, we isolated a freely evolving decision variable signal in human subjects that exhibited every aspect of the dynamics observed in its single-neuron counterparts. This signal could be continuously tracked in parallel with fully dissociable sensory encoding and motor preparation signals, and could be systematically perturbed mid-flight during decision formation. Furthermore, we found that the signal was completely domain general: it exhibited the same decision-predictive dynamics regardless of sensory modality and stimulus features and tracked cumulative evidence even in the absence of overt action. These findings provide a uniquely clear view on the neural determinants of simple perceptual decisions in humans.

PMID:
23103963
DOI:
10.1038/nn.3248
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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