Abstract

Primate vision is characterized by constant, sequential processing and selection of visual targets to fixate. Although expected reward is known to influence both processing and selection of visual targets, similarities and differences between these effects remain unclear mainly because they have been measured in separate tasks. Using a novel paradigm, we simultaneously measured the effects of reward outcomes and expected reward on target selection and sensitivity to visual motion in monkeys. Monkeys freely chose between two visual targets and received a juice reward with varying probability for eye movements made to either of them. Targets were stationary apertures of drifting gratings, causing the end points of eye movements to these targets to be systematically biased in the direction of motion. We used this motion-induced bias as a measure of sensitivity to visual motion on each trial. We then performed different analyses to explore effects of objective and subjective reward values on choice and sensitivity to visual motion to find similarities and differences between reward effects on these two processes. Specifically, we used different reinforcement learning models to fit choice behavior and estimate subjective reward values based on the integration of reward outcomes over multiple trials. Moreover, to compare the effects of subjective reward value on choice and sensitivity to motion directly, we considered correlations between each of these variables and integrated reward outcomes on a wide range of timescales. We found that, in addition to choice, sensitivity to visual motion was also influenced by subjective reward value, although the motion was irrelevant for receiving reward. Unlike choice, however, sensitivity to visual motion was not affected by objective measures of reward value. Moreover, choice was determined by the difference in subjective reward values of the two options, whereas sensitivity to motion was influenced by the sum of values. Finally, models that best predicted visual processing and choice used sets of estimated reward values based on different types of reward integration and timescales. Together, our results demonstrate separable influences of reward on visual processing and choice, and point to the presence of multiple brain circuits for the integration of reward outcomes.

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