Neuronal correlates of metacognition in primate frontal cortex.
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Humans are metacognitive: they monitor and control their cognition. Our hypothesis was that neuronal correlates of metacognition reside in the same brain areas responsible for cognition, including frontal cortex. Recent work demonstrated that nonhuman primates are capable of metacognition, so we recorded from single neurons in the frontal eye field, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and supplementary eye field of monkeys (Macaca mulatta) that performed a metacognitive visual-oculomotor task. The animals made a decision and reported it with a saccade, but received no immediate reward or feedback. Instead, they had to monitor their decision and bet whether it was correct. Activity was correlated with decisions and bets in all three brain areas, but putative metacognitive activity that linked decisions to appropriate bets occurred exclusively in the SEF. Our results offer a survey of neuronal correlates of metacognition and implicate the SEF in linking cognitive functions over short periods of time.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1016/j.neuron.2012.05.028
Publication InfoMiddlebrooks, PG; & Sommer, Marc A (2012). Neuronal correlates of metacognition in primate frontal cortex. Neuron, 75(3). pp. 517-530. 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.05.028. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/10300.
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W. H. Gardner, Jr. Associate Professor
We study circuits for cognition. Using a combination of neurophysiology and biomedical engineering, we focus on the interaction between brain areas during visual perception, decision-making, and motor planning. Specific projects include the role of frontal cortex in metacognition, the role of cerebellar-frontal circuits in action timing, the neural basis of "good enough" decision-making (satisficing), and the neural mechanisms of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).