Choice-specific sequences in parietal cortex during a virtual-navigation decision task

Christopher D. Harvey, Philip Coen, David W. Tank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

410 Scopus citations

Abstract

The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has an important role in many cognitive behaviours; however, the neural circuit dynamics underlying PPC function are not well understood. Here we optically imaged the spatial and temporal activity patterns of neuronal populations in mice performing a PPC-dependent task that combined a perceptual decision and memory-guided navigation in a virtual environment. Individual neurons had transient activation staggered relative to one another in time, forming a sequence of neuronal activation spanning the entire length of a task trial. Distinct sequences of neurons were triggered on trials with opposite behavioural choices and defined divergent, choice-specific trajectories through a state space of neuronal population activity. Cells participating in the different sequences and at distinct time points in the task were anatomically intermixed over microcircuit length scales (<100 micrometres). During working memory decision tasks, the PPC may therefore perform computations through sequence-based circuit dynamics, rather than long-lived stable states, implemented using anatomically intermingled microcircuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume484
Issue number7392
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 5 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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