A classic view of the striatum holds that activity in direct and indirect pathways oppositely modulates motor output. Whether this involves direct control of movement, or reflects a cognitive process underlying movement, remains unresolved. Here we find that strong, opponent control of behavior by the two pathways of the dorsomedial striatum depends on the cognitive requirements of a task. Furthermore, a latent state model (a hidden Markov model with generalized linear model observations) reveals that—even within a single task—the contribution of the two pathways to behavior is state dependent. Specifically, the two pathways have large contributions in one of two states associated with a strategy of evidence accumulation, compared to a state associated with a strategy of repeating previous choices. Thus, both the demands imposed by a task, as well as the internal state of mice when performing a task, determine whether dorsomedial striatum pathways provide strong and opponent control of behavior.
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