Frontal cortex is thought to underlie many advanced cognitive capacities, from self-control to long term planning. Reflecting these diverse demands, frontal neural activity is notoriously idiosyncratic, with tuning properties that are correlated with endless numbers of behavioral and task features. This menagerie of tuning has made it difficult to extract organizing principles that govern frontal neural activity. Here, we contrast two successful yet seemingly incompatible approaches that have begun to address this challenge. Inspired by the indecipherability of single-neuron tuning, the first approach casts frontal computations as dynamical trajectories traversed by arbitrary mixtures of neurons. The second approach, by contrast, attempts to explain the functional diversity of frontal activity with the biological diversity of cortical cell-types. Motivated by the recent discovery of functional clusters in frontal neurons, we propose a consilience between these population and cell-type-specific approaches to neural computations, advancing the conjecture that evolutionarily inherited cell-type constraints create the scaffold within which frontal population dynamics must operate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102630
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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