Population Vector Analysis of Primate Prefrontal Activity during Spatial Working Memory


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Abstract

Population vectors were used to examine information represented by a population of prefrontal activity and its temporal change during spatial working memory processes while monkeys performed ODR and R-ODR tasks. In the ODR task, monkeys made a saccade to the cue location after the delay, whereas in the R-ODR task, they made a saccade 90° clockwise from the cue location. We first constructed population vectors using cue- and response-period activity. The directions of population vectors were similar to the cue directions and the saccade target directions, respectively, indicating that population vectors correctly represented information regarding directions of visual cues and saccade targets. We then calculated population vectors during a 250 ms time-window from the cue presentation to the end of the response period. In the ODR task, all population vectors were directed toward the cue direction. However, in the R-ODR task, the population vector gradually rotated during the delay period from the cue direction to the saccade direction. These results indicate that spatial information represented by a population of prefrontal activity can be shown as the direction of the population vector and that its temporal change during spatial working memory tasks can be depicted as the temporal change of the vector’s direction.

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