Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Neural Signals To Predict Sensory Decisions

Date:
November 18, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Rats palpate objects with their whiskers to perceive texture. Their judgment of texture is predicted by the firing rate of neurons in the somatosensory cortex.

The rodent whisker sensory system is particularly intriguing because it is "active": the animal generates sensory signals by palpating objects through self-controlled whisker motion (just as we move our fingertips along surfaces to measure their tactile features).

Related Articles


In a new study, Dr. Moritz von Heimendahl and colleagues at the International School for Advanced Studies combine high-speed videography with neural recordings from somatosensory cortex to show that it is possible to use firing patterns to predict the decisions of rats as they contact textures in their environment.

Rats touched rough or smooth textures with their whiskers and turned left or right for a reward according to the texture identity.

Monitoring behavior with high-speed videography, the scientists found that on trials when the rat correctly identified the stimulus, the firing rate of cortical neurons varies during a window of a few hundred milliseconds before making a decision according to the contacted texture: high for rough and lower for smooth.

This firing-rate code is reversed on error trials (lower for rough than smooth). So when cortical neurons report the wrong stimulus, the rat, "feeling" the signals of its cortical neurons, fails to identify the stimulus.

They conclude that barrel cortex firing rate on each trial predicts the animal's judgment of texture.

This experiment begins to elucidate which features of cortical activity underlie the animal's capacity for tactile sensory discrimination.

Citation: von Heimendahl M, Itskov PM, Arabzadeh E, Diamond ME (2007) Neuronal activity in rat barrel cortex underlying texture discrimination. PLoS Biol 5(11): e305. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050305


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Using Neural Signals To Predict Sensory Decisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112201242.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, November 18). Using Neural Signals To Predict Sensory Decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112201242.htm
Public Library of Science. "Using Neural Signals To Predict Sensory Decisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112201242.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins