Free choice activates a decision circuit between frontal and parietal cortex

Bijan Pesaran, Matthew J. Nelson, Richard A. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We often face alternatives that we are free to choose between. Planning movements to select an alternative involves several areas in frontal and parietal cortex that are anatomically connected into long-range circuits. These areas must coordinate their activity to select a common movement goal, but how neural circuits make decisions remains poorly understood. Here we simultaneously record from the dorsal premotor area (PMd) in frontal cortex and the parietal reach region (PRR) in parietal cortex to investigate neural circuit mechanisms for decision making. We find that correlations in spike and local field potential (LFP) activity between these areas are greater when monkeys are freely making choices than when they are following instructions. We propose that a decision circuit featuring a sub-population of cells in frontal and parietal cortex may exchange information to coordinate activity between these areas. Cells participating in this decision circuit may influence movement choices by providing a common bias to the selection of movement goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-409
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume453
Issue number7193
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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