Lien DOI – https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.04.10.536289
During perceptually guided decisions, correlates of choice are found as upstream as in the primary sensory areas. However, how well these choice signals align with early sensory representations, a prerequisite for their interpretation as feedforward substrates of perception, remains an open question. We designed a two alternative forced choice task (2AFC) in which mice compared stimulation frequencies applied to two adjacent vibrissae. The optogenetic silencing of individual columns in the primary somatosensory cortex (wS1) resulted in predicted shifts of psychometric functions, demonstrating that perception depends on focal, early sensory representations. Functional imaging of layer II/III single neurons revealed sensory, choice and engagement coding. From trial to trial, these three varied substantially, but independently from one another. Thus, coding of sensory and non-sensory variables co-exist in orthogonal subspace of the population activity, suggesting that perceptual variability does not originate from wS1 but rather from state or choice fluctuations in downstream areas.