Causal contribution and dynamical encoding in the striatum during evidence accumulation.
A broad range of decision-making processes involve gradual accumulation of evidence over time, but the neural circuits responsible for this computation are not yet established. Recent data indicate that cortical regions that are prominently associated with accumulating evidence, such as the posterior parietal cortex and the frontal orienting fields, may not be directly involved in this computation. Which, then, are the regions involved? Regions that are directly involved in evidence accumulation should directly influence the accumulation-based decision-making behavior, have a graded neural encoding of accumulated evidence and contribute throughout the accumulation process. Here, we investigated the role of the anterior dorsal striatum (ADS) in a rodent auditory evidence accumulation task using a combination of behavioral, pharmacological, optogenetic, electrophysiological and computational approaches. We find that the ADS is the first brain region known to satisfy the three criteria. Thus, the ADS may be the first identified node in the network responsible for evidence accumulation.