May 18, 2021

Neural correlations are attenuated in the transformation from the frontal cortex to movement

<p>Correlated activity between neurons can cause variability in behavior across trials. The extent to which correlated activity affects behavior depends on the properties of its translation into movement. We developed a novel method that estimates the contribution of correlations in the frontal eye field (FEF) to pursuit eye movements. We defined a distance metric between the behavior on different trials. Based on this metric, we applied a sequence of shuffles to the neuronal responses, allowing trials to be matched with increasingly distant trials. Correlations between neurons were strongly attenuated when applying even the most constrained shuffle. Thus, only a small fraction of FEF correlations affects the behavior. We used simulations to validate our approach and demonstrate its generalizability over different models. We show that the attenuation of correlated activity through the motor pathway could stem from the interplay between the structure of the correlations and the decoder of FEF activity.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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