Category Inference and Prefrontal Cortex
We hypothesize that the prefrontal cortex is involved in category inference. To test this hypothesis, we recorded single-unit activity from the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) of two monkeys performing a sequential paired-association task with an asymmetric reward schedule. We found that a group of LPFC neurons encoded reward value specific to a category of visual stimuli defined by relevant behavioral responses. And these neurons predicted the amount of reward based on new category members that had never been used in the asymmetric reward task, when a member from the same category was paired with a large (or small) amount of reward. The results suggest that LPFC neurons encode category-based reward information, and transfer this information to category members including new ones, which could be the neural basis of category inference.
KeywordsCategory Inference Prefrontal cortex Neuron Monkey