Cited by Lee Sonogan
The ventral part of lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPF) of the monkey receives strong visual input, mainly from inferotemporal cortex. It has been shown that VLPF neurons can show visual responses during paradigms requiring to associate arbitrary visual cues to behavioral reactions. Further studies showed that there are also VLPF neurons responding to the presentation of specific visual stimuli, such as objects and faces. However, it is largely unknown whether VLPF neurons respond and differentiate between stimuli belonging to different categories, also in absence of a specific requirement to actively categorize or to exploit these stimuli for choosing a given behavior. The first aim of the present study is to evaluate and map the responses of neurons of a large sector of VLPF to a wide set of visual stimuli when monkeys simply observe them. Recent studies showed that visual responses to objects are also present in VLPF neurons coding action execution, when they are the target of the action. Thus, the second aim of the present study is to compare the visual responses of VLPF neurons when the same objects are simply observed or when they become the target of a grasping action. Our results indicate that: (1) part of VLPF visually responsive neurons respond specifically to one stimulus or to a small set of stimuli, but there is no indication of a “passive” categorical coding; (2) VLPF neuronal visual responses to objects are often modulated by the task conditions in which the object is observed, with the strongest response when the object is target of an action. These data indicate that VLPF performs an early passive description of several types of visual stimuli, that can then be used for organizing and planning behavior. This could explain the modulation of visual response both in associative learning and in natural behavior.
Publication: Scientific Reoprt (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
Pub date: 12 May 2021 Doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-89500-0
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-89500-0 (Plenty more sections, figures and references in the article)