Functional differences between macaque prefrontal cortex and caudate nucleus during eye movements with and without reward

Exp Brain Res. 2007 Jan;176(2):341-55. doi: 10.1007/s00221-006-0622-4.


The prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia form mutually connected networks and are thought to play essential roles together in guiding goal-directed behaviors. Yet, these structures seem to have independent pathways to motor outputs as well, suggesting differential contributions to goal-directed behaviors. We hypothesized that the prefrontal cortex guides actions to a direction required by external demands and the basal ganglia guide actions to an internally motivated direction. To test this hypothesis, we used a task in which monkeys were required to make a memory-guided saccade to a direction indicated by a visual cue while only one direction was associated with reward. We observed a functional dissociation between the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), which commonly represented the cue direction, and the caudate nucleus (CD), which commonly represented the reward-associated direction. Furthermore, cue-directed and reward-directed signals were integrated differently in the two areas; when the cue direction and the reward direction were opposite, LPFC neurons maintained tuning to the cue direction, whereas CD neurons lost the tuning. Different types of spatial tuning in the two brain areas may contribute to different types of goal-directed behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Caudate Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reward*