December 3, 2020

A functional hierarchy for choice in medial prefrontal cortex

Hierarchical approaches to functional neuroanatomy propose that choice-relevant brain regions have overlapping functions and can be organized into a series that progressively transforms information about options into choices. Here, we examined responses of neurons in four regions of the medial prefrontal cortex as macaques performed two-option risky choices. All four regions encoded economic variables in similar proportions and showed putative signatures of key choice-related computations. We found evidence for a hierarchical organization proceeding from areas 14[->]25[->]32[->]24. Specifically, we found that decodability of eight distinct task variables increased along that path, consistent with the idea that hierarchically later regions make these variables more separable. We also found longer intrinsic timescales in the same series, further supporting the idea of a hierarchy. Together these results highlight the importance of the medial wall in choice, endorse a specific hierarchical organization, and argue against a modular functional neuroanatomy of choice.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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