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A neural mechanism of speed-accuracy tradeoff in macaque area LIP

  1. Timothy Hanks
  2. Roozbeh Kiani
  3. Michael N Shadlen  Is a corresponding author
  1. Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, United States
  2. New York University, United States
  3. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 75
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Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e02260 doi: 10.7554/eLife.02260

Abstract

Decision making often involves a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Previous studies indicate that neural activity in the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) represents the gradual accumulation of evidence toward a threshold level, or evidence bound, which terminates the decision process. The level of this bound is hypothesized to mediate the speed-accuracy tradeoff. To test this, we recorded from LIP while monkeys performed a motion discrimination task in two speed-accuracy regimes. Surprisingly, the terminating threshold levels of neural activity were similar in both regimes. However, neurons recorded in the faster regime exhibited stronger evidence-independent activation from the beginning of decision formation, effectively reducing the evidence-dependent neural modulation needed for choice commitment. Our results suggest that control of speed versus accuracy may be exerted through changes in decision-related neural activity itself rather than through changes in the threshold applied to such neural activity to terminate a decision.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Timothy Hanks

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Roozbeh Kiani

    New York University, New York, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Michael N Shadlen

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, New York, United States
    For correspondence
    shadlen@columbia.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#2896-01) of the University of Washington. All surgery was performed under isoflurane anesthesia and analgesics to avoid pain and distress.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Dora E Angelaki, Baylor College of Medicine, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: January 10, 2014
  2. Accepted: May 22, 2014
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: May 27, 2014 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: June 17, 2014 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2014, Hanks et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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