An animal's decision depends not only on incoming sensory evidence but also on its fluctuating internal state. This internal state is a product of cognitive factors, such as fatigue, motivation, and arousal, but it is unclear how these factors influence the neural processes that encode the sensory stimulus and form a decision. We discovered that, over the timescale of tens of minutes during a perceptual decision-making task, animals slowly shifted their likelihood of reporting stimulus changes. They did this unprompted by task conditions. We recorded neural population activity from visual area V4 as well as prefrontal cortex, and found that the activity of both areas slowly drifted together with the behavioral fluctuations. We reasoned that such slow fluctuations in behavior could either be due to slow changes in how the sensory stimulus is processed or due to a process that acts independently of sensory processing. By analyzing the recorded activity in conjunction with models of perceptual decision-making, we found evidence for the slow drift in neural activity acting as an impulsivity signal, overriding sensory evidence to dictate the final decision. Overall, this work uncovers an internal state embedded in the population activity across multiple brain areas, hidden from typical trial-averaged analyses and revealed only when considering the passage of time within each experimental session. Knowledge of this cognitive factor was critical in elucidating how sensory signals and the internal state together contribute to the decision-making process.
- Downloaded 966 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 12,169 out of 89,568
- In neuroscience: 1,929 out of 15,928
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 1,552 out of 89,568
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 7,827 out of 89,568
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!