Long Ding, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience
University of Pennsylvania
“The caudate nucleus and reward-based visual decisions”
Decision making is a complex process that interprets sensory information within the context of reward contingency, task goal and intrinsic bias, etc. How and where this process is implemented in the brain remain unclear. The basal ganglia have been shown to contribute causally to reward-based economic decisions and to noisy sensory evidence-based perceptual decisions, leading to the hypothesis that sensory and reward information may be combined within the basal ganglia to support decision formation. In my talk, I will present our new results on how the caudate nucleus encodes combined signals at the single-neuron level and how disruption of caudate activity influences decision performance. These results further support the idea that the basal ganglia are a key player in the complex decision process.