Visual evidence accumulation guides decision-making in unrestrained mice

Odoemene, O., Pisupati, S., Nguyen, H., Churchland, A. K. (October 2018) Visual evidence accumulation guides decision-making in unrestrained mice. J Neurosci, 38 (47). pp. 10143-10155. ISSN 0270-6474 (Public Dataset)

DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.3478-17.2018


The ability to manipulate neural activity with precision is an asset in uncovering neural circuits for decision-making. Diverse tools for manipulating neurons are available for mice, but their feasibility remains unclear, especially when decisions require accumulating visual evidence. For example, whether mice' decisions reflect leaky accumulation is unknown, as are the relevant/irrelevant factors that influence decisions. Further, causal circuits for visual evidence accumulation are poorly understood. To address this, we measured decisions in mice judging the fluctuating rate of a flash sequence. An initial analysis (>500,000 trials, 29 male and female mice) demonstrated that information throughout the 1000ms trial influenced choice, with early information most influential. This suggests that information persists in neural circuits for approximately 1000ms with minimal accumulation leak. Next, in a subset of animals, we probed strategy more extensively and found that although animals were influenced by stimulus rate, they were unable to entirely suppress the influence of stimulus brightness. Finally, we identified anteromedial (AM) visual area via retinotopic mapping and optogenetically inhibited it using JAWS. Light activation biased choices in both injected and uninjected animals, demonstrating that light alone influences behavior. By varying stimulus-response contingency while holding stimulated hemisphere constant, we surmounted this obstacle to demonstrate that AM suppression biases decisions. By leveraging a large dataset to quantitatively characterize decision-making behavior, we establish mice as suitable for neural circuit manipulation studies. Further, by demonstrating that mice accumulate visual evidence, we demonstrate that this strategy for reducing uncertainty in decision-making is employed by animals with diverse visual systems.Significance statementTo connect behaviors to their underlying neural mechanism, a deep understanding of behavioral strategy is needed. This understanding is incomplete for mice. To surmount this, we measured the outcome of over 500,000 decisions made by 29 mice trained to judge visual stimuli and performed behavioral/optogenetic manipulations in smaller subsets. Our analyses offer new insights into mice' decision-making strategies and compares them with those of other species. We then disrupted neural activity in a candidate neural structure and examined the effect on decisions. Our findings establish mice as suitable for visual accumulation of evidence decisions. Further, the results highlight similarities in decision-making strategies across very different species.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior > decision making
organism description > animal > mammal > rodent > mouse
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
School of Biological Sciences > Publications
Depositing User: Matthew Dunn
Date: 17 October 2018
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2018 15:11
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 15:06
PMCID: PMC6246883
Related URLs:
Dataset ID:
  • Corresponding MAT Files:

Actions (login required)

Administrator's edit/view item Administrator's edit/view item
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving