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Parallel and functionally segregated processing of task phase and conscious content in the prefrontal cortex

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Kapoor,  V
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Besserve,  M
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Panagiotaropoulos,  TI
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kapoor, V., Besserve, M., Logothetis, N., & Panagiotaropoulos, T. (2018). Parallel and functionally segregated processing of task phase and conscious content in the prefrontal cortex. Communications Biology, 1: 215, pp. 1-12. doi:10.1038/s42003-018-0225-1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-9DB9-D
Abstract
The role of lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) in mediating conscious perception has been recently questioned due to potential confounds resulting from the parallel operation of task related processes. We have previously demonstrated encoding of contents of visual consciousness in LPFC neurons during a no-report task involving perceptual suppression. Here, we report a separate LPFC population that exhibits task-phase related activity during the same task. The activity profile of these neurons could be captured as canonical response patterns (CRPs), with their peak amplitudes sequentially distributed across different task phases. Perceptually suppressed visual input had a negligible impact on sequential firing and functional connectivity structure. Importantly, task-phase related neurons were functionally segregated from the neuronal population, which encoded conscious perception. These results suggest that neurons exhibiting task-phase related activity operate in the LPFC concurrently with, but segregated from neurons representing conscious content during a no-report task involving perceptual suppression.