EPFL Neuro Seminar // Valerio Mante - From plans to outcomes: Continuous representations of actions in primate prefrontal cortex
Dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex in primates (dlPFC) is thought to contribute to flexible decisions primarily by selecting, maintaining, and combining contextually relevant information to select an action. This view was strongly shaped by the discovery in dlPFC of tuned, persistent activity that bridges the time interval between the planning and execution of an action. I will present evidence that these classic findings may have provided a somewhat misleading view of the function of dlPFC, in that they disregarded the activity which follows an action. We analyzed large-scale recordings from monkeys engaged in saccade-based decisions for which rewards were delayed with respect to the choice saccades. In this setting, we found that dlPFC is persistently active before and after an action, and maintains a continuous representation of actions lasting from planning and execution to the resulting outcome and beyond. Several properties of these action representations suggest a key role for dlPFC in remembering actions that may be eligible for rewards and in updating future plans based on past actions.
- Informed public
- Mackenzie Mathis, Brain Mind Institute