Dynamics of heading and choice-related signals in the parieto-insular vestibular cortex of macaque monkeys

Aihua Chen, Fu Zeng, Gregory C. DeAngelis, Dora E. Angelaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perceptual decision-making is increasingly being understood to involve an interaction between bottom-up sensory-driven signals and top-down choice-driven signals, but how these signals interact to mediate perception is not well understood. The parieto-insular vestibular cortex (PIVC) is an area with prominent vestibular responsiveness, and previous work has shown that inactivating PIVC impairs vestibular heading judgments. To investigate the nature of PIVC s contribution to heading perception, we recorded extracellularly from PIVC neurons in two male rhesus macaques during a heading discrimination task, and compared findings with data from previous studies of dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) and ventral intraparietal (VIP) areas using identical stimuli. By computing partial correlations between neural responses, heading, and choice, we find that PIVC activity reflects a dynamically changing combination of sensory and choice signals. In addition, the sensory and choice signals are more balanced in PIVC, in contrast to the sensory dominance in MSTd and choice dominance in VIP. Interestingly, heading and choice signals in PIVC are negatively correlated during the middle portion of the stimulus epoch, reflecting a mismatch in the polarity of heading and choice signals. We anticipate that these results will help unravel the mechanisms of interaction between bottom-up sensory signals and top-down choice signals in perceptual decision-making, leading to more comprehensive models of self-motion perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3254-3265
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 7 2021


  • Bottom-up
  • Choice
  • PIVC
  • Partial correlation
  • Sensory
  • Top-down
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth/diagnostic imaging
  • Head Movements/physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Parietal Lobe/diagnostic imaging
  • Choice Behavior/physiology
  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex/diagnostic imaging
  • Photic Stimulation/methods
  • Somatosensory Cortex/diagnostic imaging
  • Discrimination Learning/physiology
  • Motion Perception/physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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