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Contributions of Parietal Cortex to Reach Planning


Batista, Aaron Paul (1999) Contributions of Parietal Cortex to Reach Planning. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/p8wm-2z13.


Sensory-motor circuits course through the parietal cortex of the human and monkey brain. How parietal cortex manipulates these signals has been an important question in behavioral neuroscience. This thesis presents experiments that explore the contributions of monkey parietal cortex to sensory-motor processing, with an emphasis on the area's contributions to reaching. First, it is shown that parietal cortex is organized into subregions devoted to specific movements. Area LIP encodes plans to make saccadic eye movements. A nearby area, the parietal reach region (PRR), plans reaches. A series of experiments are then described which explore the contributions of PRR to reach planning. Reach plans are represented in an eye-centered reference frame in PRR. This representation is shown to be stable across eye movements. When a sequence of reaches is planned, only the impending movement is represented in PRR, showing that the area is more related to movement planning than to storing the memory of reach targets. PRR resembles area LIP in each of these properties: the two areas may provide a substrate for hand-eye coordination. These findings yield new perspectives on the functions of the parietal cortex and on the organization of sensory-motor processing in primate brains.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Computation and Neural Systems
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Computation and Neural Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Andersen, Richard A.
Thesis Committee:
  • Andersen, Richard A. (chair)
  • Shimojo, Shinsuke
  • Konishi, Masakazu
  • Laurent, Gilles J.
  • Perona, Pietro
  • Koch, Christof
Defense Date:19 April 1999
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04092013-091722066
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7593
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:09 Apr 2013 16:55
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:08

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