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Microstimulation of macaque area LIP affects decision-making in a motion discrimination task

Summary: Microstimulation of macaque area LIP affects
decision-making in a motion discrimination task
Timothy D Hanks1, Jochen Ditterich1,2 & Michael N Shadlen1
A central goal of cognitive neuroscience is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making. Recent physiological
studies suggest that neurons in association areas may be involved in this process. To test this, we measured the effects of
electrical microstimulation in the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) while monkeys performed a reaction-time motion discrimination
task with a saccadic response. In each experiment, we identified a cluster of LIP cells with overlapping response fields (RFs)
and sustained activity during memory-guided saccades. Microstimulation of this cluster caused an increase in the proportion of
choices toward the RF of the stimulated neurons. Choices toward the stimulated RF were faster with microstimulation, while
choices in the opposite direction were slower. Microstimulation never directly evoked saccades, nor did it change reaction times
in a simple saccade task. These results demonstrate that the discharge of LIP neurons is causally related to decision formation in
the discrimination task.
Much progress has been made in understanding the neurobiology of
decision-making by tracing the neural events that link sensory proces-
sing to a choice of action in monkeys14. For example, to decide
whether a pattern of random dots is moving to the left or the right, the
brain must represent the motion information in the visual cortex,
interpret this information as evidence for one or the other direction,
and eventually commit to a choice, indicated by some action. Through
a combination of recording, lesion and microstimulation experiments,


Source: Andrzejak, Ralph Gregor - Departament de Tecnologia, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Shadlen, Michael - Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Computer Technologies and Information Sciences