Roy et al show that the activity of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (pFC) are linked to categorical decisions. Monkeys were trained to categorize a set of computer-generated images as “cats” vs “dogs”. Then, they were shown ambiguous images were centered on a category boundary, that is, they were a mix of 50% of cats and dogs and therefore had no category information. The monkeys guessed at their category membership. Activity to the same ambiguous image differed significantly, depending on the monkey’s decision about the image’s category. Thus, pFC activity reflects categorical decisions.
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The Miller Lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of the high-level cognitive functions that underlie complex goal-directed behavior. ekmillerlab.mit.edu