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Published April 24, 2020 | Submitted
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Representation of conscious percept without report in the macaque face patch network


A powerful paradigm to identify the neural correlates of consciousness is binocular rivalry, wherein a constant visual stimulus evokes a varying conscious percept. It has recently been suggested that activity modulations observed during rivalry could represent the act of report rather than the conscious percept itself. Here, we performed single-unit recordings from face patches in macaque inferotemporal (IT) cortex using a no-report paradigm in which the animal's conscious percept was inferred from eye movements. We found high proportions of IT neurons represented the conscious percept even without active report. Population activity in single trials, measured using a new 128-site Neuropixels-like electrode, was more weakly modulated by rivalry than by physical stimulus transitions, but nevertheless allowed decoding of the changing conscious percept. These findings suggest that macaque face patches encode both the physical stimulus and the animal's conscious visual percept, and the latter encoding does not require active report.

Additional Information

The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. All rights reserved. No reuse allowed without permission. Posted April 24, 2020. This work was supported by HHMI and the Simons Foundation. We are grateful to members of the Tsao lab for feedback on the manuscript, Varun Wadia for helping us collect the human subject data, Audo Flores for animal support, Daniel Wagenaar and Eric Trautmann for technical assistance, and Barun Dutta, Tim Harris, Tirin Moore, Michael Shadlen, Krishna Shenoy, and HHMI for contributions to development of NHP Neuropixels probes. Author contributions: J.K.H. conducted the experiments and analyzed the data. J.K.H. and D.Y.T. designed the experiments, interpreted the data, and wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing interests.

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