Neural timescales reflect behavioral demands in freely moving rhesus macaques

Ana M.G. Manea, David J.N. Maisson, Benjamin Voloh, Anna Zilverstand, Benjamin Hayden, Jan Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous work demonstrated a highly reproducible cortical hierarchy of neural timescales at rest, with sensory areas displaying fast, and higher-order association areas displaying slower timescales. The question arises how such stable hierarchies give rise to adaptive behavior that requires flexible adjustment of temporal coding and integration demands. Potentially, this lack of variability in the hierarchical organization of neural timescales could reflect the structure of the laboratory contexts. We posit that unconstrained paradigms are ideal to test whether the dynamics of neural timescales reflect behavioral demands. Here we measured timescales of local field potential activity while male rhesus macaques foraged in an open space. We found a hierarchy of neural timescales that differs from previous work. Importantly, although the magnitude of neural timescales expanded with task engagement, the brain areas’ relative position in the hierarchy was stable. Next, we demonstrated that the change in neural timescales is dynamic and contains functionally-relevant information, differentiating between similar events in terms of motor demands and associated reward. Finally, we demonstrated that brain areas are differentially affected by these behavioral demands. These results demonstrate that while the space of neural timescales is anatomically constrained, the observed hierarchical organization and magnitude is dependent on behavioral demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2151
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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