Cortical Ensemble Dynamics of Naturalistic Decision-making

Summary

Date: 
September 29, 2015 - 12:00pm
Location: 
NW 243
About the Speaker
Name: 
Don Katz (Brandeis)

Most of life’s choices are made suddenly, and at variable delays following stimulus presentation. In this talk, I will reveal choice-related neural ensemble activity to be consistent with this description: whereas by standard single-neuron analyses cortical responses to tastes appear to increasingly predict upcoming consumption decisions (i.e., reflect stimulus palatability) across the 500 ms preceding the onset of ingestive behaviors, analysis of simultaneously-recorded neural ensembles reveals this choice-related activity to appear in nearly instantaneous, coherent ensemble state transitions. Furthermore, these ensemble transitions into choice-related firing, analyzed in single trials, accurately predict the timing of naturalistic choice behavior. These data suggest a novel, dynamical characterization of perceptual neural processing.