FoxP influences the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision inDrosophila

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Decisions take time if information gradually accumulates to a response threshold, but the neural mechanisms of integration and thresholding are unknown. We characterized a decision process inDrosophilathat bears the behavioral signature of evidence accumulation. As stimulus contrast in trained odor discriminations decreased, reaction times increased and perceptual accuracy declined, in quantitative agreement with a drift-diffusion model.FoxPmutants took longer than wild-type flies to form decisions of similar or reduced accuracy, especially in difficult, low-contrast tasks. RNA interference withFoxPexpression in αβ core Kenyon cells, or the overexpression of a potassium conductance in these neurons, recapitulated theFoxPmutant phenotype. A mushroom body subdomain whose development or function require the transcription factor FoxP thus supports the progression of a decision toward commitment.

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