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Rossi-Pool, Roman; Zizumbo, Jeronimo; Alvarez, Manuel; Vergara, Jose; Zainos, Antonio; Romo, Ranulfo (2019)

TEMPORAL SIGNALS UNDERLYING A COGNITIVE PROCESS IN THE DORSAL PREMOTOR CORTEX

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 116(15):7523-7532
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During discrimination between two sequential vibrotactile stimulus patterns, the primate dorsal premotor cortex (DPC) neurons exhibit a complex repertoire of coding dynamics associated with the working memory, comparison, and decision components of this task. In addition, these neurons and neurons with no coding responses show complex strong fluctuations in their firing rate associated with the temporal sequence of task events. Here, to make sense of this temporal complexity, we extracted the temporal signals that were latent in the population. We found a strong link between the individual and population response, suggesting a common neural substrate. Notably, in contrast to coding dynamics, these time-dependent responses were unaffected during error trials. However, in a nondemanding task in which monkeys did not require discrimination for reward, these time-dependent signals were largely reduced and changed. These results suggest that temporal dynamics in DPC reflect the underlying cognitive processes of this task.