Speaker: Daeyeol Lee, Ph.D. (Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University)
Title: Neural Mechanism of Detection and Decision Making
Abstract: Choices we make in our daily lives are embedded in a stream of potentially irrelevant noisy events. Yet, how the onset of a behaviorally relevant event is detected and triggers the deliberative process leading to a motor response is not well known. We have examined the choice behaviors and neural activity in the primate frontal eye field while the animals perform a color discrimination task in which the informative stimulus is often preceded by a neutral stimulus for variable durations. We found that the detection of the informative stimulus suppresses both choice behavior and ongoing microsaccades. The pattern of brief suppression in FEF activity after the onset of informative stimulus suggested that it was also related to motor suppression. These results suggest that momentary arrest of motor preparation is important for dynamic perceptual decision making.