Decision-related feedback in visual cortex lacks spatial selectivity

Nat Commun. 2021 Jul 22;12(1):4473. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24629-0.


Feedback in the brain is thought to convey contextual information that underlies our flexibility to perform different tasks. Empirical and computational work on the visual system suggests this is achieved by targeting task-relevant neuronal subpopulations. We combine two tasks, each resulting in selective modulation by feedback, to test whether the feedback reflected the combination of both selectivities. We used visual feature-discrimination specified at one of two possible locations and uncoupled the decision formation from motor plans to report it, while recording in macaque mid-level visual areas. Here we show that although the behavior is spatially selective, using only task-relevant information, modulation by decision-related feedback is spatially unselective. Population responses reveal similar stimulus-choice alignments irrespective of stimulus relevance. The results suggest a common mechanism across tasks, independent of the spatial selectivity these tasks demand. This may reflect biological constraints and facilitate generalization across tasks. Our findings also support a previously hypothesized link between feature-based attention and decision-related activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Decision Making / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Feedback, Sensory
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology
  • Spatial Processing / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology