May 27, 2019
17:00 ~ 18:00
CiNet 1F Conference Room
“Dynamical multiplexing of information during dual task performance in monkey prefrontal cortex”
Department of Experiment Psychology
University of Oxford
Host: Kei Watanabe (Kitazawa Group)
Cognitive multitasking is limited by interference between component tasks. Neural substrates for such interference have been identified in the lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC) mostly using univariate approaches. However, lPFC processes information in a dynamic, context dependent manner, possibly enabling multitasking during complex behaviour in the first place. We recorded from monkeys’ lPFC while they simultaneously performed a spatial attention and working memory task (dual task). Monkeys learned to perform the dual task with a high success rate and over various levels of experimentally induced inter-task interference. Recorded neurons were tuned to unique task features as well as to complex mixtures of features from both tasks and time i.e. switching, linear-mixed and nonlinear-mixed selectivity. This heterogeneity in neural responses resulted in distinct patterns of activity across the population. Population activity patterns transitioned between distinct neural subspaces across task epochs, while protecting task specific representations from interference. Our data suggests that lPFC multiplexes information within and across tasks as well as time to achieve concurrent but distinct processing on the level of the population.