Trained monkeys performed a two-choice perceptual decision-making task in which they reported the perceived orientation of a dynamic Glass pattern, before and after unilateral, reversible, inactivation of a brainstem area-the superior colliculus (SC)-involved in preparing eye movements. We found that unilateral SC inactivation produced significant decision biases and changes in reaction times consistent with a causal role for the primate SC in perceptual decision-making. Fitting signal detection theory and sequential sampling models to the data showed that SC inactivation produced a decrease in the relative evidence for contralateral decisions, as if adding a constant offset to a time-varying evidence signal for the ipsilateral choice. The results provide causal evidence for an embodied cognition model of perceptual decision-making and provide compelling evidence that the SC of primates (a brainstem structure) plays a causal role in how evidence is computed for decisions-a process usually attributed to the forebrain.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.