Neuronal population coding of perceived and memorized visual features in the lateral prefrontal cortex

TitleNeuronal population coding of perceived and memorized visual features in the lateral prefrontal cortex
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMendoza-Halliday, D, Martinez-Trujillo, JC
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Date PublishedJune 2017
Type of ArticleArticle No. 15471
Abstract

The primate lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) encodes visual stimulus features while they are perceived and while they are maintained in working memory. However, it remains unclear whether perceived and memorized features are encoded by the same or different neurons and population activity patterns. Here we record LPFC neuronal activity while monkeys perceive the motion direction of a stimulus that remains visually available, or memorize the direction if the stimulus disappears. We find neurons with a wide variety of combinations of coding strength for perceived and memorized directions: some neurons encode both to similar degrees while others preferentially or exclusively encode either one. Reading out the combined activity of all neurons, a machine-learning algorithm reliably decode the motion direction and determine whether it is perceived or memorized. Our results indicate that a functionally diverse population of LPFC neurons provides a substrate for discriminating between perceptual and mnemonic representations of visual features.

URLhttps://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15471

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