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Romo, R; Machens, CK; Brody, CD (2005)

FLEXIBLE CONTROL OF MUTUAL INHIBITION: A NEURAL MODEL OF TWO-INTERVAL DISCRIMINATION

SCIENCE 307(5712):1121-1124
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Networks adapt to environmental demands by switching between distinct dynamical behaviors. The activity of frontal-lobe neurons during two-interval discrimination tasks is an example of these adaptable dynamics. Subjects first perceive a stimulus, then hold it in working memory, and finally make a decision by comparing it with a second stimulus. We present a simple mutual-inhibition network model that captures all three task phases within a single framework. The model integrates both working memory and decision making because its dynamical properties are easily controlled without changing its connectivity. Mutual inhibition between nonlinear units is a useful design motif for networks that must display multiple behaviors.