Task-dependent representations of stimulus and choice in mouse parietal cortex

Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 3;9(1):2596. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05012-y.


The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has been implicated in perceptual decisions, but whether its role is specific to sensory processing or sensorimotor transformation is not well understood. Here, we trained mice to perform a go/no-go visual discrimination task and imaged the activity of neurons in primary visual cortex (V1) and PPC during engaged behavior and passive viewing. Unlike V1 neurons, which respond robustly to stimuli in both conditions, most PPC neurons respond exclusively during task engagement. To test whether signals in PPC primarily encoded the stimulus or the animal's impending choice, we image the same neurons before and after re-training mice with a reversed sensorimotor contingency. Unlike V1 neurons, most PPC neurons reflect the animal's choice of the new target stimulus after re-training. Mouse PPC is therefore strongly task-dependent, reflects choice more than stimulus, and may play a role in the transformation of visual inputs into motor commands.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology