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

Abstract

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.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Vestibular information is important for our perception of self-motion, and various cortical regions in primates show vestibular heading selectivity. Inactivation of the macaque vestibular cortex substantially impairs the precision of vestibular heading discrimination, more so than inactivation of other multisensory areas. Here, we record for the first time from the vestibular cortex while monkeys perform a forced-choice heading discrimination task, and we compare results with data collected previously from other multisensory cortical areas. We find that vestibular cortex activity reflects a dynamically changing combination of sensory and choice signals, with both similarities and notable differences with other multisensory areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3254-3265
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Volume41
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 7 2021

Keywords

  • bottom-up
  • choice
  • partial correlation
  • PIVC
  • sensory
  • top-down

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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