Title: Neural circuit analysis during an accumulation of evidence decision task
A central goal of cognitive neuroscience is to elucidate the neural mechanisms that underlie decision making. A broad range of decision processes involve gradual accumulation of evidence over time, but the neural circuits that mediate these computations remain unclear. I will describe recent work that uses a combination of single-trial resolution behavioral modeling, electrophysiological neural recordings, pharmacological inactivation, optogenetic perturbation, and computational analysis to examine the role of an extended network of brain regions to decisions based on the accumulation of evidence in rats. These experiments allow us to distinguish the contributions of different cortical, striatal, and midbrain structures during decision making and challenge existing views about the roles of these brain regions. They also provide a blueprint for elucidating circuit-level contributions to the computations that underlie decision making.