Bijan Pesaran

Center for Neural Science

New York University

Neural Dynamics, Decisions and Actions

Cerebral cortex contains a mosaic of brain areas that are connected to form distributed networks. Before each movement we decide to make, multiple areas contain specific patterns of neural activity which can be used to predict what we will do. This talk will present our investigations into dynamics of neuronal activity that seek to understand how interactions between brain areas guide sensory-motor behavior. We have been focusing on parietal area LIP which guides saccadic eye movements together with the Parietal Reach Region (PRR) and dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) which guide arm movements. I will present studies in the monkey that examine how neural dynamics are reflected in the activity of single cells and field potentials, how these dynamics exhibit functional specializations across different cortical areas, and how neural coherence between cortical areas is involved in behaviors such as making a decision and coordination. These studies illustrate how investigations of neural dynamics can help us understand the relationship between the activity of distributed cortical networks and behavior.


Pesaran B (2009) Uncovering the mysterious origins of local field potentials. Neuron 61:1-2


Pesaran B, Nelson MJ, Andersen RA (2008) Free choice activates a decision circuit between frontal and parietal cortex. Nature 453:406-9