Transformation of acoustic information to sensory decision variables in the parietal cortex

Justin D. Yao, Klavdia O. Zemlianova, David L. Hocker, Cristina Savin, Christine M. Constantinople, Sue Yeon Chung, Dan H. Sanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The process by which sensory evidence contributes to perceptual choices requires an understanding of its transformation into decision variables. Here, we address this issue by evaluating the neural representation of acoustic information in the auditory cortex-recipient parietal cortex, while gerbils either performed a two-alternative forced-choice auditory discrimination task or while they passively listened to identical acoustic stimuli. During task engagement, stimulus identity decoding performance from simultaneously recorded parietal neurons significantly correlated with psychometric sensitivity. In contrast, decoding performance during passive listening was significantly reduced. Principal component and geometric analyses revealed the emergence of low-dimensional encoding of linearly separable manifolds with respect to stimulus identity and decision, but only during task engagement. These findings confirm that the parietal cortex mediates a transition of acoustic representations into decision-related variables. Finally, using a clustering analysis, we identified three functionally distinct subpopulations of neurons that each encoded task-relevant information during separate temporal segments of a trial. Taken together, our findings demonstrate how parietal cortex neurons integrate and transform encoded auditory information to guide sound-driven perceptual decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2212120120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2023


  • auditory perception
  • decision-making
  • geometric analysis
  • neural response manifold
  • parietal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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