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Reward-Related Suppression of Neural Activity in Macaque Visual Area V4

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ricardo Kienitz, Professor Michael Schmid



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.In order for organisms to survive, they need to detect rewarding stimuli, for example, food or a mate, in a complex environment with many competing stimuli. These rewarding stimuli should be detected even if they are nonsalient or irrelevant to the current goal. The value-driven theory of attentional selection proposes that this detection takes place through reward-associated stimuli automatically engaging attentional mechanisms. But how this is achieved in the brain is not very well understood. Here, we investigate the effect of differential reward on the multiunit activity in visual area V4 of monkeys performing a perceptual judgment task. Surprisingly, instead of finding reward-related increases in neural responses to the perceptual target, we observed a large suppression at the onset of the reward indicating cues. Therefore, while previous research showed that reward increases neural activity, here we report a decrease. More suppression was caused by cues associated with higher reward than with lower reward, although neither cue was informative about the perceptually correct choice. This finding of reward-associated neural suppression further highlights normalization as a general cortical mechanism and is consistent with predictions of the value-driven attention theory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shapcott KA, Schmiedt JT, Kouroupaki K, Kienitz R, Lazar A, Singer W, Schmid MC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cerebral Cortex

Year: 2020

Volume: 30

Issue: 9

Pages: 4871-4881

Online publication date: 30/04/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 13/08/2020

ISSN (print): 1047-3211

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2199

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa079

PubMed id: 32350517


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