A neural correlate of the processing of multi-second time intervals in primate prefrontal cortex

Naosugi Yumoto, Xiaofeng Lu, Thomas R. Henry, Shigehiro Miyachi, Atsushi Nambu, Tomoki Fukai, Masahiko Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several areas of the brain are known to participate in temporal processing. Neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) are thought to contribute to perception of time intervals. However, it remains unclear whether the PFC itself can generate time intervals independently of external stimuli. Here we describe a group of PFC neurons in area 9 that became active when monkeys recognized a particular elapsed time within the range of 1-7 seconds. Another group of area 9 neurons became active only when subjects reproduced a specific interval without external cues. Both types of neurons were individually tuned to recognize or reproduce particular intervals. Moreover, the injection of muscimol, a GABA agonist, into this area bilaterally resulted in an increase in the error rate during time interval reproduction. These results suggest that area 9 may process multi-second intervals not only in perceptual recognition, but also in internal generation of time intervals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere19168
JournalPloS one
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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