In a new study published in Journal of Neuroscience, Miaomiao Jin, Jeffrey Beck, and Lindsey Glickfeld show that mice fail to optimally integrate all of the information available to the visual cortex by systematically ignoring the neurons, whose activity is down regulated by target presence in a go/no-go task. The article was also featured in This Week in The Journal.
A major goal in systems neuroscience is to understand how sensory signals are used to guide behavior. This requires determining what information in sensory cortical areas is used, and how it is combined, by downstream perceptual choice circuits. Here we demonstrate that when performing a go/no-go orientation discrimination task, mice suboptimally integrate signals from orientation tuned visual cortical neurons. While they appropriately positively weight target-preferring neurons, they fail to negatively weight distractor-preferring neurons. We propose that this all-positive computation may be adopted because of its simple learning rules and faster processing, and may be a common approach to perceptual decision-making when task conditions allow.