The experimental design, including animal descriptions, is detailed in the preceding sections. Statistical analyses were performed on a desktop computer using MATLAB. Unless otherwise described, statistical significance was deemed as α < 0.05. A one-tailed binomial test was used to evaluate whether finger classification sessions during N2O administration performed at a better than chance rate. The chance rates were one in three when brushing three equally likely fingers and one in four when brushing four equally likely fingers. The calculation was made using binocdf.m in MATLAB. When two finger combinations were examined for statistical significance (see Population analysis below), a Bonferroni correction was applied to lower the level for statistical significance to 0.025. Otherwise, the level of statistical significance was α = 0.05. Fisher’s exact test was used to compare categorical random variables. Parameterized statistical tests between two groups were made with a one-sample, two-tailed t test.

The correlation between MDN and the N2O-induced change in firing rate was evaluated for multiunits during the early and late finger-brushing sessions. The change in firing rate was calculated by subtracting the pre-N2O firing rate from the firing rate of either the early or late session. The difference was normalized by the pre-N2O firing rate to prevent units with high firing rate from dominating the correlation. The MATLAB function fitlm.m was to evaluate the correlation.

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