Decoding of auditory and tactile perceptual decisions in parietal cortex

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Perceptual decision making is the process in which stimuli of a rich environment are reduced to a single choice. Parietal cortex is involved in many tasks that require perceptual decisions such as attentional focusing, categorization, and eventually response selection. While much work in both the human and monkey domains has investigated processes related to visual decision making, relatively little research has explored auditory and tactile perceptual decisions. As such, we wanted to know whether these regions also play a role in auditory and tactile decision making. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging on humans and a paradigm specifically designed to avoid motor confounds, we found that one area in the right intraparietal sulcus, contained high-level abstract representations of auditory and tactile category-specific information. Our findings advance the idea that parietal cortex represents information that abstracts away from both the input and output domains.

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