A subset of caudate neurons fires before cues that instruct the monkey what he should do. To test the hypothesis that the anticipatory activity of such neurons depends on the context of stimulus-reward mapping, we examined their activity while the monkeys performed a memory-guided saccade task in which either the position or the color of a cue indicated presence or absence of reward. Some neurons showed anticipatory activity only when a particular position was associated with reward, while others fired selectively for color-reward associations. The functional segregation suggests that caudate neurons participate in feature-based anticipation of visual information that predicts reward. This neuronal code influences the general activity level in response to visual features without improving the quality of visual discrimination.
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