Separate, Causal Roles of the Caudate in Saccadic Choice and Execution in a Perceptual Decision Task

Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.98). 09/2012; 75(5):865-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.07.021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In contrast to the well-established roles of the striatum in movement generation and value-based decisions, its contributions to perceptual decisions lack direct experimental support. Here, we show that electrical microstimulation in the monkey caudate nucleus influences both choice and saccade response time on a visual motion discrimination task. Within a drift-diffusion framework, these effects consist of two components. The perceptual component biases choices toward ipsilateral targets, away from the neurons' predominantly contralateral response fields. The choice bias is consistent with a nonzero starting value of the diffusion process, which increases and decreases decision times for contralateral and ipsilateral choices, respectively. The nonperceptual component decreases and increases nondecision times toward contralateral and ipsilateral targets, respectively, consistent with the caudate's role in saccade generation. The results imply a causal role for the caudate in perceptual decisions used to select saccades that may be distinct from its role in executing those saccades. VIDEO ABSTRACT: