Neural cognitive signals during spontaneous movements in the macaque [article]

Sébastien Tremblay, Camille Testard, Ron W. DiTullio, Jeanne Inchauspé, Michael Petrides
2022 bioRxiv   pre-print
AbstractThe single neuron basis of cognitive processing in primates has mostly been studied in laboratory settings where movements are severely restricted. It is unclear, therefore, how natural movements might affect neural signatures of cognition in the brain. Moreover, studies in mice indicate that body movements, when measured, account for most of the neural dynamics in the cortex. To examine this issue, we recorded from single neuron ensembles in the prefrontal cortex in moving monkeys
more » ... rming a cognitive task and characterized eyes, head, and body movements using video tracking. Despite significant trial-to-trial movement variability, single neuron tuning could be precisely measured and decision signals accurately decoded on a single-trial basis. Creating or abolishing spontaneous movements through head restraint and task manipulations had no measurable impact on neural responses. However, encoding models showed that uninstructed movements explained as much neural variance as task variables, with most of them aligned to task events. These results demonstrate that cognitive signals in the cortex are robust to natural movements, but also that unmeasured movements are potential confounds in cognitive neurophysiology experiments.
doi:10.1101/2022.09.05.506681 fatcat:vter4lqzknauhasbgnhkuftkjq