The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a small almond-shaped subcortical structure classically known for its role in motor inhibition through the indirect pathway within the basal ganglia. Little is known about the role of the STN in mediating cognitive functions in humans. Here, we explore the role of the STN in human subjects making decisions under conditions of uncertainty using single-neuron recordings and intermittent deep brain stimulation (DBS) during a financial decision-making task. Intraoperative single-neuronal data from the STN reveals that on high-uncertainty trials, spiking activity encodes the upcoming decision within a brief (500 ms) temporal window during the choice period, prior to the manifestation of the choice. Application of intermittent DBS selectively prior to the choice period alters decisions and biases subject behavior towards conservative wagers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology