Research Article

Optical Imaging of Neuronal Populations During Decision-Making

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Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 896-901
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103736

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We investigated decision-making in the leech nervous system by stimulating identical sensory inputs that sometimes elicit crawling and other times swimming. Neuronal populations were monitored with voltage-sensitive dyes after each stimulus. By quantifying the discrimination time of each neuron, we found single neurons that discriminate before the two behaviors are evident. We used principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis to find populations of neurons that discriminated earlier than any single neuron. The analysis highlighted the neuron cell 208. Hyperpolarizing cell 208 during a stimulus biases the leech to swim; depolarizing it biases the leech to crawl or to delay swimming.

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