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Neuron. 2014 Jun 4;82(5):1157-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.04.031.

Neural correlates of task switching in prefrontal cortex and primary auditory cortex in a novel stimulus selection task for rodents.

Author information

1
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Electronic address: xrodgers@gmail.com.
2
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley, 132 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

Animals can selectively respond to a target sound despite simultaneous distractors, just as humans can respond to one voice at a crowded cocktail party. To investigate the underlying neural mechanisms, we recorded single-unit activity in primary auditory cortex (A1) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of rats selectively responding to a target sound from a mixture. We found that prestimulus activity in mPFC encoded the selection rule-which sound from the mixture the rat should select. Moreover, electrically disrupting mPFC significantly impaired performance. Surprisingly, prestimulus activity in A1 also encoded selection rule, a cognitive variable typically considered the domain of prefrontal regions. Prestimulus changes correlated with stimulus-evoked changes, but stimulus tuning was not strongly affected. We suggest a model in which anticipatory activation of a specific network of neurons underlies the selection of a sound from a mixture, giving rise to robust and widespread rule encoding in both brain regions.

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PMID:
24908492
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2014.04.031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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