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de Lafuente, V; Romo, R (2012)

DOPAMINERGIC ACTIVITY COINCIDES WITH STIMULUS DETECTION BY THE FRONTAL LOBE

Neuroscience 218():181-184
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For midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons to respond to sensory events, the presence of a stimulus must first be detected. Where is the signal that activates DA neurons coming from? Here we show that DA responses to a vibrotactile stimulus lag significantly behind those of the primary somatosensory cortex, but they arise with a latency that closely matches the onset of premotor neurons known to encode perceptual decisions. In agreement with previous findings, these data suggest that sensory evoked DA activity does not signal a stimulus physical presence but arises from the output of a perceptual decision.