Apr 2, 2020

Serial integration of sensory evidence for perceptual decisions and oculomotor responses

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Matteo LisiM. J. Morgan


Perceptual decisions often require the integration of noisy sensory evidence over time. This process is formalized with sequential sampling models, where evidence is accumulated up to a decision threshold before a choice is made. Although classical accounts grounded in cognitive psychology tend to consider the process of decision formation and the preparation of the motor response as occurring serially, neurophysiological studies have proposed that decision formation and response preparation occur in parallel and are inseparable (Cisek, 2007; Shadlen et al., 2008). To address this serial vs. parallel debate, we developed a behavioural, reverse correlation protocol, in which the stimuli that influence perceptual decisions can be distinguished from the stimuli that influence motor responses. We show that the temporal integration windows supporting these two processes are distinct and largely non-overlapping, suggesting that they proceed in a serial or cascaded fashion.

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