A Caltech Library Service

Free choice activates a decision circuit between frontal and parietal cortex

Pesaran, Bijan and Nelson, Matthew J. and Andersen, Richard A. (2008) Free choice activates a decision circuit between frontal and parietal cortex. Nature, 453 (7193). pp. 406-409. ISSN 0028-0836. PMCID PMC2728060. doi:10.1038/nature06849.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF (Supplementary Methods; Supplementary Results; Supplementary Discussion; Supplementary References; Supplementary Figures 1-10 and Legends and Supplementary Tables 1-2) - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We often face alternatives that we are free to choose between. Planning movements to select an alternative involves several areas in frontal and parietal cortex that are anatomically connected into long-range circuits. These areas must coordinate their activity to select a common movement goal, but how neural circuits make decisions remains poorly understood. Here we simultaneously record from the dorsal premotor area (PMd) in frontal cortex and the parietal reach region (PRR) in parietal cortex to investigate neural circuit mechanisms for decision making. We find that correlations in spike and local field potential (LFP) activity between these areas are greater when monkeys are freely making choices than when they are following instructions. We propose that a decision circuit featuring a sub-population of cells in frontal and parietal cortex may exchange information to coordinate activity between these areas. Cells participating in this decision circuit may influence movement choices by providing a common bias to the selection of movement goals.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access CentralArticle information
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:© 2008 Nature Publishing Group. Received 2 January 2007; Accepted 22 February 2008; Published online 16 April 2008. Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the National Eye Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency BioInfoMicro program, a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (B.P.), a James D. Watson Investigator Program Award from NYSTAR (B.P.) and a Sloan Research Fellowship (B.P.). We thank: N. Daw, H. Dean and D. Heeger for comments; T. Yao for editorial assistance; K. Pejsa and N. Sammons for animal care; and V. Shcherbatyuk and M. Walsh for technical assistance. Author Contributions: B.P., M.J.N. and R.A.A. designed the experiment and wrote the paper. B.P. and M.J.N. collected the data. B.P. performed the data analysis.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Eye InstituteUNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)UNSPECIFIED
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Burroughs Wellcome FundUNSPECIFIED
NYSTAR James D. Watson Investigator ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:7193
PubMed Central ID:PMC2728060
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170408-192148886
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76363
Deposited By: 1Science Import
Deposited On:18 Apr 2017 16:46
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:59

Repository Staff Only: item control page