During the perception-to-action cycle, our cerebral cortex mediates the interactions between the environment and the perceptual-executive systems of the brain. At the top of the executive hierarchy, prefrontal cortical microcircuits are assumed to bind perceptual and executive control information to guide goal-driven behavior. Here, we tested this hypothesis by comparing simultaneously recorded neuron firing in prefrontal cortical layers and the caudate-putamen of rhesus monkeys, trained in a spatial-versus-object, rule-based match-to-sample task. We found that during the perception and executive selection phases, cell firing in the localized prefrontal layers and caudate-putamen region exhibited similar location preferences on spatial-trials, but less on object- trials. Then, we facilitated the perceptual-executive circuit by stimulating the prefrontal infra-granular-layers with patterns previously derived from supra-granular-layers, and produced stimulation-induced spatial preference in percent correct performance on spatial trials, similar to neural tuning. These results show that inter-laminar prefrontal microcircuits play causal roles to the perception-to-action cycle.
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