Prefrontal Neurons Predict Choices during an Auditory Same-Different Task

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.
Current Biology (Impact Factor: 9.92). 10/2008; 18(19):1483-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.08.054
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The detection of stimuli is critical for an animal's survival [1]. However, it is not adaptive for an animal to respond automatically to every stimulus that is present in the environment [2-5]. Given that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in executive function [6-8], we hypothesized that PFC activity should be involved in context-dependent responses to uncommon stimuli. As a test of this hypothesis, monkeys participated in a same-different task, a variant of an oddball task [2]. During this task, a monkey heard multiple presentations of a "reference" stimulus that were followed by a "test" stimulus and reported whether these stimuli were the same or different. While they participated in this task, we recorded from neurons in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vPFC; a cortical area involved in aspects of nonspatial auditory processing [9, 10]). We found that vPFC activity was correlated with the monkeys' choices. This finding demonstrates a direct link between single neurons and behavioral choices in the PFC on a nonspatial auditory task.

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Available from: Yale Cohen, Sep 17, 2014
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