Perceptual decisions do not occur in isolation but instead reflect ongoing evaluation and adjustment processes that can affect future decisions. However, the neuronal substrates of these across-decision processes are not well understood, particularly for auditory decisions. We measured and manipulated the activity of choice-selective neurons in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) while monkeys made decisions about the frequency content of noisy auditory stimuli. As the decision was being formed, vlPFC activity was not modulated strongly by the task. However, after decision commitment, vlPFC population activity encoded the sensory evidence, choice, and outcome of the current trial and predicted subject-specific choice biases on the subsequent trial. Consistent with these patterns of neuronal activity, electrical microstimulation in vlPFC tended to affect the subsequent, but not current, decision. Thus, distributed post-commitment representations of graded decision-related information in prefrontal cortex can play a causal role in evaluating past decisions and biasing subsequent ones.
- Yale Cohen
- Joshua I Gold
- Yale Cohen
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: The University of Pennsylvania Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved all of the experimental protocols, which were conducted under protocol 804699.
- Timothy D Griffiths, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
© 2019, Tsunada et al.
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