The functional anatomy of a perceptual decision in the human brain.

Kayser, A, Buchsbaum BR, Erickson DT, D’Esposito.  2010.  The functional anatomy of a perceptual decision in the human brain., 2010 Mar. Journal of Neurophysiology. 103(3):1179-1194.


Our ability to make rapid decisions based on sensory information belies the complexity of the underlying computations. Recently, "accumulator" models of decision making have been shown to explain the activity of parietal neurons as macaques make judgments concerning visual motion. Unraveling the operation of a decision-making circuit, however, involves understanding both the responses of individual components in the neural circuitry and the relationships between them. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study of the decision process in humans, we demonstrate that an accumulator model predicts responses to visual motion in the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). Significantly, the metrics used to define responses within the IPS also reveal distinct but interacting nodes in a circuit, including early sensory detectors in visual cortex, the visuomotor integration system of the IPS, and centers of cognitive control in the prefrontal cortex, all of which collectively define a perceptual decision-making network.



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