The Huk lab published an article in Nature entitled “Dissociated functional significance of decision-related activity in the primate dorsal stream”.
During decision making, neurons in multiple brain regions exhibit responses that are correlated with decisions, However, it remains uncertain whether or not various forms of decision-related activity are causally related to decision making. The Huk lab addressed this question by recording and reversibly inactivating areas in the cortex of rhesus macaques involved in performing a motion direction discrimination task. Their findings reveal that decision-related signals do not always appear to be critical for computing perceptual decisions, and may instead reflect secondary processes. These results highlight a dissociation between decision correlation and causation, showing that strong neuron-decision correlations do not necessarily offer direct access to the neural computations underlying decisions.
This work benefited from collaboration with the lab of Dr. Mike Mauk in the department, who shared their knowledge and expertise of the reversible cortical inactivation technique.
Katz LN, Yates JL, Pillow JW and Huk AC. (2016). Dissociated functional significance of decision-related activity in the primate dorsal stream. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature18617