In previous studies involving monkeys performing behavioral tasks, neurons in the nucleus basalis frequently had significant changes in discharge rate when the animal made a movement in response to a sensory stimulus in order to obtain a reward. To determine whether such responses of basalis neurons are primarily sensory or motor in nature, the activity of single basalis neurons was recorded in monkeys performing a go/no-go (GNG) task which provided a dissociation between sensory and motor neuronal responses. In a sample of 425 basalis neurons, 326 (77%) had significant changes in firing in at least one phase of the GNG task. Most of the task-related neurons (70%) responded in the choice phase in which the animal either made an arm movement (go condition) or kept its arm motionless (no-go condition) in order to obtain a water reward. Of 253 neurons that responded in the choice phase, 88% had changes in firing in the no-go condition that were equal to or, in some cases, greater than the changes in firing in the go condition. Therefore, most responses of basalis neurons in the choice phase could not be specific for the arm movement because they occurred when there was no arm movement at all. The visual stimulus presented in the choice phase was also presented earlier on each trial in the cue phase. Although 70% of the task-related basalis neurons responded in the choice phase, only 5% had detectable changes in firing in the cue phase. Of 251 neurons responding in the cue or choice phase, 59% had significantly larger changes in firing in the choice phase than in the cue phase, whereas only one neuron had a larger response in the cue phase. Therefore, most responses of basalis neurons in the choice phase could not be specific for the visual stimulus because similar responses did not occur when the same stimulus was presented in the cue phase. These results indicate that the frequent responses of basalis neurons in the choice phase are neither purely sensory nor motor in nature, but are highly dependent on the context of the stimulus or movement. The neuronal responses in the choice phase may reflect either transient increases in arousal or decision-making processes.