Linking neuronal activity with behavior
There are many studies that have found correlates of neuronal activity and behavior using single-cell electrophysiology. However, these studies have left behind the problem of what is the relationship of the activity of ensembles of neurons to behavior. The goal of this project is to study the impact of spiking variability of small neuronal populations on decision making. The driving hypothesis is that neuronal variability in sensory areas of cortex arises from fluctuating neuronal states and has a direct impact on decision making through a probabilistic mapping linking sensory, decision and neuronal variables. The three main objectives of our proposal are: (1) link neuronal variability in small neuronal populations to perception and decision variables, (2) formalize the link between neuronal activity and behavior using the Bayesian framework, and (3) study the implications of the theory in monkeys performing decision making tasks.
The results of this project will help to understand better the neuronal underpinnings of perceptual decision making.