Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
August 2018, Vol. 30, No. 8, Pages 1130-1144
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dynamic Encoding of Effort and Reward throughout the Execution of Action by External Globus Pallidus Neurons in Monkeys
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Humans and animals must evaluate the costs and expected benefits of their actions to make adaptive choices. Prior studies have demonstrated the involvement of the basal ganglia in this evaluation. However, little is known about the role of the external part of the globus pallidus (GPe), which is well positioned to integrate motor and reward-related information, in this process. To investigate this role, the activity of 126 neurons was recorded in the associative and limbic parts of the GPe of two monkeys performing a behavioral task in which different levels of force were required to obtain different amounts of liquid reward. The results first revealed that the activity of associative and limbic GPe neurons could be modulated not only by cognitive and limbic but also motor information at the same time, both during a single period or during different periods throughout the trial, mainly in an independent way. Moreover, as a population, GPe neurons encoded these types of information dynamically throughout the trial, when each piece of information was the most relevant for the achievement of the action. Taken together, these results suggest that GPe neurons could be dedicated to the parallel monitoring of task parameters essential to adjusting and maintaining goal-directed behavior.