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J Neurophysiol. 2017 Jan 1;117(1):195-203. doi: 10.1152/jn.00245.2016. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Independent coding of absolute duration and distance magnitudes in the prefrontal cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
2
Department of Intelligence Science and Technology, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan; and.
3
Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, Tokyo, Japan.
4
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; aldo.genovesio@uniroma1.it.

Abstract

The estimation of space and time can interfere with each other, and neuroimaging studies have shown overlapping activation in the parietal and prefrontal cortical areas. We used duration and distance discrimination tasks to determine whether space and time share resources in prefrontal cortex (PF) neurons. Monkeys were required to report which of two stimuli, a red circle or blue square, presented sequentially, were longer and farther, respectively, in the duration and distance tasks. In a previous study, we showed that relative duration and distance are coded by different populations of neurons and that the only common representation is related to goal coding. Here, we examined the coding of absolute duration and distance. Our results support a model of independent coding of absolute duration and distance metrics by demonstrating that not only relative magnitude but also absolute magnitude are independently coded in the PF.

NEW & NOTEWORTHY:

Human behavioral studies have shown that spatial and duration judgments can interfere with each other. We investigated the neural representation of such magnitudes in the prefrontal cortex. We found that the two magnitudes are independently coded by prefrontal neurons. We suggest that the interference among magnitude judgments might depend on the goal rather than the perceptual resource sharing.

KEYWORDS:

magnitude; monkey; prefrontal; spatial; timing

PMID:
27760814
PMCID:
PMC5209538
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00245.2016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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