Cortico-basal ganglia circuit mechanism for a decision threshold in reaction time tasks

Chung Chuan Lo, Xiao-Jing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Growing evidence from primate neurophysiology and modeling indicates that in reaction time tasks, a perceptual choice is made when the firing rate of a selective cortical neural population reaches a threshold. This raises two questions: what is the neural substrate of the threshold and how can it be adaptively tuned according to behavioral demands? Using a biophysically based network model of spiking neurons, we show that local dynamics in the superior colliculus gives rise to an all-or-none burst response that signals threshold crossing in upstream cortical neurons. Furthermore, the threshold level depends only weakly on the efficacy of the cortico-collicular pathway. In contrast, the threshold and the rate of reward harvest are sensitive to, and hence can be optimally tuned by, the strength of cortico-striatal synapses, which are known to be modifiable by dopamine-dependent plasticity. Our model provides a framework to describe the main computational steps in a reaction time task and suggests that separate brain pathways are critical to the detection and adjustment of a decision threshold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-963
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

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Basal Ganglia
Reaction Time
Social Adjustment
Neurons
Corpus Striatum
Neurophysiology
Critical Pathways
Superior Colliculi
Reward
Synapses
Primates
Dopamine
Brain
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Cortico-basal ganglia circuit mechanism for a decision threshold in reaction time tasks. / Lo, Chung Chuan; Wang, Xiao-Jing.

In: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 9, No. 7, 07.2006, p. 956-963.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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