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Amplitude modulations of sensory responses, and deviations from Weber's Law in pulsatile evidence accumulation

By Sue Ann Koay, Stephan Y. Thiberge, Carlos D. Brody, David W. Tank

Posted 29 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.24.167213

How do animals make behavioral decisions based on noisy sensory signals, which are moreover a tiny fraction of ongoing activity in the brain? Some theories suggest that sensory responses should be accumulated through time to reduce noise. Others suggest that feedback-based gain control of sensory responses allow small signals to be selectively amplified to drive behavior. We recorded from neuronal populations across posterior cortex as mice performed a decision-making task based on accumulating randomly timed pulses of visual evidence. Here we focus on a subset of neurons, with putative sensory responses that were time-locked to each pulse. These neurons exhibited a variety of amplitude (gain-like) modulations, notably by choice and accumulated evidence. These neural data inspired a hypothetical accumulation circuit with a multiplicative feedback-loop architecture, which parsimoniously explains deviations in perceptual discrimination from Weber-Fechner Law. Our neural observations thus led to a model that synthesizes both accumulation and feedback hypotheses. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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