The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has been implicated in perceptual decision-making and categorization, but whether its activity plays a causal role remains controversial. Here we examined the population dynamics of PPC activity during an auditory-guided decision task in mice. We found that silencing of PPC activity impaired several aspects of decision-making. First, categorization of new, but not well-learned, stimuli was impaired. Second, re-categorization of previously experienced stimuli based on newly learned categories was also impaired. Third, the bias on behavioral choices created by preceding trials significantly increased. In vivo two-photon imaging of PPC activity during stimulus categorization revealed differential dynamics in representations of new stimuli and learned categories, consistent with rapid incorporation of new sensory information during categorization. At the circuit level, inactivation of PPC axonal projections to the auditory cortex also significantly reduced categorization performance. Thus, PPC circuits play a causal role in decision-making during stimulus categorization.
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All data used to understand and assess the conclusions of this study are available in the main text or supplementary materials. All the original behavioral, optogenetic, imaging and histochemical data are archived in the Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
All data acquisition and analysis code are archived in the Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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We thank R. Egnor for advice on auditory behavioral apparatus, A. Kerlin for communication on behavioral control software, N. Andersen for pilot optogenetic experiments, T.T. Zhou for technical support, L. Cui, S. Tang and J. Xiao for helping with behavior training, Y. Xin for discussions on data analysis, ION Gene-editing Core Facility for providing the adeno-associated viruses and M.M. Poo for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS (grant No. QYZDB-SSW-SMC045), National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant No. 31571081), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant No. XDB32010000), National Key R&D Program of China (grant Nos. 2017YFA0103900/2017YFA0103901), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Major Project (grant No. 2018SHZDZX05) and the Youth Thousand Talents Plan (to N.L.X.). C.A.D. is supported by the Simons Collaboration on the Global Brain Postdoctoral Fellowship and the CPSF-CAS Joint Foundation for Excellent Postdoctoral Fellows.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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