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Journal Article

Cortical topography of intracortical inhibition influences the speed of decision making


Ragert,  Patrick
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Wilimzig, C., Ragert, P., & Dinse, H. R. (2012). Cortical topography of intracortical inhibition influences the speed of decision making. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(8), 3107-3112. doi:10.1073/pnas.1114250109.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-B8BF-8
The neocortex contains orderly topographic maps; however, their functional role remains controversial. Theoretical studies have suggested a role in minimizing computational costs, whereas empirical studies have focused on spatial localization. Using a tactile multiple-choice reaction time (RT) task before and after the induction of perceptual learning through repetitive sensory stimulation, we extend the framework of cortical topographies by demonstrating that the topographic arrangement of intracortical inhibition contributes to the speed of human perceptual decision-making processes. RTs differ among fingers, displaying an inverted U-shaped function. Simulations using neural fields show the inverted U-shaped RT distribution as an emergent consequence of lateral inhibition. Weakening inhibition through learning shortens RTs, which is modeled through topographically reorganized inhibition. Whereas changes in decision making are often regarded as an outcome of higher cortical areas, our data show that the spatial layout of interaction processes within representational maps contributes to selection and decision-making processes.