Electrophysiological Correlates of a Versatile Executive Control System in the Monkey Anterior Cingulate Cortex.

Thomas Michelet, Bernard Bioulac, Nicolas Langbour, Michel Goillandeau, Dominique Guehl, Pierre Burbaud
Cereb. Cortex. 2015-01-28; 26(4): 1684-1697
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhv004

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Michelet T(1)(2), Bioulac B(1)(2), Langbour N(3), Goillandeau M(1)(2), Guehl D(1)(2)(4), Burbaud P(1)(2)(4).

Author information:
(1)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, Université de Bordeaux, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
(2)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, CNRS, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
(3)Centre Hospitalier Henri-Laborit, F-86021 Poitiers, France.
(4)Service d’explorations fonctionnelles du système nerveux, CHU de Bordeaux, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.

When a subject faces conflicting situations, decision-making becomes uncertain.
The human dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been repeatedly implicated
in the monitoring of such situations, and its neural activity is thought to be
involved in behavioral adjustment. However, this hypothesis is mainly based on
neuroimaging results and is challenged by animal studies that failed to report
any neuronal correlates of conflict monitoring. This discrepancy is thought be
due either to methodological or more fundamental cross-species differences. In
this study, we eliminated methodological biases and recorded single-neuron
activity in monkeys performing a Stroop-like task. We found specific changes in
dACC activity during incongruent trials but only in a small subpopulation of
cells. Critically, these changes were not related to reaction time and were
absent before any incorrect action was taken. A larger fraction of neurons
exhibited sustained activity during the whole decision period, whereas another
subpopulation of neurons was modulated by reaction time, with a gradual increase
in their firing rate that peaked at movement onset. Most of the neurons found in
these subpopulations exhibited activity after the delivery of an external
negative feedback stimulus that indicated an error had been made. These findings,
which are consistent with an executive control role, reconcile various theories
of prefrontal cortex function and support the homology between human and monkey
cognitive architectures.

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DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhv004
PMID: 25631057 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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