Neuronal Activity during a Cued Strategy Task: Comparison of Dorsolateral, Orbital, and Polar Prefrontal Cortex
Satoshi Tsujimoto, Aldo Genovesio, and Steven P. Wise
J. Neurosci. 2012;32 11017-11031
We compared neuronal activity in the dorsolateral (PFdl), orbital (PFo), and polar (PFp) prefrontal cortex as monkeys performed three tasks. In two tasks, a cue instructed one of two strategies: stay with the previous response or shift to the alternative. Visual stimuli served as cues in one of these tasks; in the other, fluid rewards did so. In the third task, visuospatial cues instructed each response. A delay period followed each cue. As reported previously, PFdl encoded strategies (stay or shift) and responses (left or right) during the cue and delay periods, while PFo encoded strategies and PFp encoded neither strategies nor responses; during the feedback period, all three areas encoded responses, but not strategies. Four novel findings emerged from the present analysis. (1) The strategy encoded by PFdl and PFo cells during the cue and delay periods was modality specific. (2) The response encoded by PFdl cells was task and modality specific during the cue period, but during the delay and feedback periods it became task and modality general. (3) Although some PFdl and PFo cells responded to or anticipated rewards, we could rule out reward effects for most strategy- and response-related activity. (4) Immediately before feedback, only PFp signaled responses that were correct according to the cued strategy; after feedback, only PFo signaled the response that had been made, whether correct or incorrect. These signals support a role in generating responses by PFdl, assigning outcomes to choices by PFo, and assigning outcomes to cognitive processes by PFp.