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Behavioral context affects social signal representations within single primate prefrontal cortex neurons

Citation

Fishbein, Adam et al. (2022), Behavioral context affects social signal representations within single primate prefrontal cortex neurons, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.6076/D11P4N

Abstract

We tested whether social signal processing in more traditional, head-restrained contexts is representative of the putative natural analog – social communication – by comparing responses to vocalizations within individual neurons in marmoset prefrontal cortex (PFC) across a series of behavioral contexts ranging from traditional to naturalistic. Although vocalization responsive neurons were evident in all contexts, cross-context consistency was notably limited. A response to these social signals when subjects were head-restrained was not predictive of a comparable neural response to the identical vocalizations during natural communication. This pattern was evident both within individual neurons and at a population level, as PFC activity could be reliably decoded for the behavioral context in which vocalizations were heard. These results suggests that neural representations of social signals in primate PFC are not static, but highly flexible and likely reflect how nuances of the dynamic behavioral contexts affect the perception of these signals and what they communicate.