Decoding a Decision Process in the Neuronal Population of Dorsal Premotor Cortex
46 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2018 Sneak Peek Status: Review CompleteMore...
When trained monkeys discriminate the temporal structure of two sequential vibrotactile stimuli, dorsal premotor cortex (DPC) showed high heterogeneity among its neuronal responses. Notably, DPC neurons coded the stimulus patterns as broader categories and signaled them during the working memory, comparison and postponed decision periods in this task. Here, we show that these responses can be condensed to population dynamics within two major components: one that persistently represented in working memory both the identity of the initial sensory representation and the postponed informed choice, and another that coded transiently the comparison of the two stimulus patterns. Further analysis showed that these two components interacted, providing a compact and intuitive idea of what the DPC circuit is dynamically coding in this task. This interaction, hidden by heterogeneity, is captured only by the population dynamics and not by the single neuronal responses.
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