Illuminating the cortical circuits underlying decision making
Neural activity maintains representations of information that bridge past and future events, often over many seconds. We used optical and electrophysiological methods to probe the circuit mechanisms underlying short-term memory in the mouse premotor cortex. We find that persistent activity is remarkably robust to large-scale transient perturbations. These persistent representations are distributed across interacting neural circuit modules, a hallmark of robust control systems. Network models incorporating modularity show robustness that is consistent with data.