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Brain Dev. 1986;8(4):454-61.

Neural activities in the monkey basal ganglia related to attention, memory and anticipation.


Discharges of single neurons were recorded in the caudate nucleus of an awake monkey. The monkey was trained to perform a series of behavioral tasks which required him to fixate on a spot of light on a screen and if the spot jumped to another location to make a saccade to refixate it. A significant portion of the neurons in the head and body of the caudate nucleus showed increases in their activities in relation to the behavioral tasks. While some neurons responded to the visual stimulus (light spot), others showed activities preceding a saccade. Another group of neurons showed activities not directly related to such sensory or motor events but presumably related to monkey's cognitive states. Even the visual or saccade-related activities were highly dependent on the behavioral context in which a given visual stimulus was presented or a given saccade was elicited. This report presents typical examples of caudate neural activities related to selective attention, short-term memory and anticipation of future events, and explains how such complex signals in the caudate are converted to oculomotor outputs through a major efferent pathway of the basal ganglia, namely caudate--substantia nigra pars reticulate--superior colliculus.

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