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Neural coding of tactile decisions in the human prefrontal cortex


Pleger, B; Ruff, Christian C; Blankenburg, F; Bestmann, S; Wiech, K; Stephan, K E; Capilla, A; Friston, K J; Dolan, R J (2006). Neural coding of tactile decisions in the human prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(48):12596-12601.

Abstract

The neural processes underlying tactile decisions in the human brain remain elusive. We addressed this question in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using a somatosensory discrimination task, requiring participants to compare the frequency of two successive tactile stimuli. Tactile stimuli per se engaged somatosensory, parietal, and frontal cortical regions. Using a statistical model that accounted for the relative difference in frequencies (i.e., Weber fraction) and discrimination accuracy (i.e., correct or incorrect), we show that trial-by-trial relative frequency difference is represented linearly by activity changes in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral anterior insular cortices. However, a circumscribed region within the left DLPFC showed a different response pattern expressed as activity changes that were monotonically related to relative stimulation difference only for correct but not for incorrect trials. Our findings suggest that activity in the left DLPFC encodes stimulus representations that underlie veridical tactile decisions in humans.

Abstract

The neural processes underlying tactile decisions in the human brain remain elusive. We addressed this question in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using a somatosensory discrimination task, requiring participants to compare the frequency of two successive tactile stimuli. Tactile stimuli per se engaged somatosensory, parietal, and frontal cortical regions. Using a statistical model that accounted for the relative difference in frequencies (i.e., Weber fraction) and discrimination accuracy (i.e., correct or incorrect), we show that trial-by-trial relative frequency difference is represented linearly by activity changes in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral anterior insular cortices. However, a circumscribed region within the left DLPFC showed a different response pattern expressed as activity changes that were monotonically related to relative stimulation difference only for correct but not for incorrect trials. Our findings suggest that activity in the left DLPFC encodes stimulus representations that underlie veridical tactile decisions in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:26 Oct 2011 11:23
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 04:00
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4275-06.2006
PubMed ID:17135421

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