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Choice-specific sequences in parietal cortex during a virtual-navigation decision task

Author(s): Harvey, Christopher; Coen, Philip; Tank, David

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Abstract: The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) plays an important role in many cognitive behaviors; however, the neural circuit dynamics underlying PPC function are not well understood. Here we optically imaged the spatial and temporal activity patterns of neuronal populations in mice performing a PPC-dependent task that combined a perceptual decision and memory-guided navigation in a virtual environment. Individual neurons had transient activation staggered relative to one another in time, forming a sequence of neuronal activation spanning the entire length of a task trial. Distinct sequences of neurons were triggered on trials with opposite behavioral choices and defined divergent, choice-specific trajectories through a state space of neuronal population activity. Cells participating in the different sequences and at distinct time points in the task were anatomically intermixed over microcircuit length scales (< 100 micrometers). During working memory decision tasks the PPC may therefore perform computations through sequence-based circuit dynamics, rather than long-lived stable states, implemented using anatomically intermingled microcircuits.
Publication Date: 14-Mar-2012
Electronic Publication Date: 14-Mar-2012
Citation: Harvey, Christopher D, Coen, Philip, Tank, David W. (2012). Choice-specific sequences in parietal cortex during a virtual-navigation decision task. Nature, 484 (7392), 62 - 68. doi:10.1038/nature10918
DOI: doi:10.1038/nature10918
ISSN: 0028-0836
EISSN: 1476-4687
Pages: 62 - 68
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Nature
Version: Author's manuscript

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