Activity in the Lateral Prefrontal Cortex Reflects Multiple Steps of Future Events in Action Plans

Hajime Mushiake, Naohiro Saito, Kazuhiro Sakamoto, Yasuto Itoyama, Jun Tanji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To achieve a behavioral goal in a complex environment, we must plan multiple steps of motor behavior. On planning a series of actions, we anticipate future events that will occur as a result of each action and mentally organize the temporal sequence of events. To investigate the involvement of the lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) in such multistep planning, we examined neuronal activity in the PFC of monkeys performing a maze task that required the planning of stepwise cursor movements to reach a goal. During the preparatory period, PFC neurons reflected each of all forthcoming cursor movements, rather than arm movements. In contrast, in the primary motor cortex, most neuronal activity reflected arm movements but little of cursor movements during the preparatory period, as well as during movement execution. Our data suggest that the PFC is involved primarily in planning multiple future events that occur as a consequence of behavioral actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-641
Number of pages11
JournalNeuron
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May 18

Keywords

  • SYSNEURO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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