Neurophysiology of the parieto-frontal system during target interception.

H. Merchant, A. Battaglia-Mayer, A. P. Georgopoulos

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4 Scopus citations


We studied the functional properties of neurons of two elements of the parieto-frontal system: area 7a of the PPC and the motor cortex (M1), during an interception task of stimuli moving in real (RM) and apparent motion (AM). The stimulus moved along a circular path with one of 5 speeds, and was intercepted at 6 o'clock by exerting a force pulse on a joystick. A smooth stimulus motion was produced in RM, whereas in AM 5 stimuli were flashed successively at the vertices of a pentagon. The results showed, that a group of neurons in both areas above responded not only during the interception but also during a NOGO task in which the same stimuli were presented in the absence of a motor response. Most of these neurons were tuned to the stimulus angular position. In addition, we found that the time-varying neuronal activity in both areas was related to various aspects of stimulus motion and hand force, with stimulus-related activity prevailing in area 7a and hand-related activity prevailing in M1. Interestingly, the neural activity was selectively associated with the stimulus angle during RM, whereas it was tightly correlated to the time-to-contact during AM. Thus, the results suggest that area 7a was processing high level features of the circularly moving stimuli and was involved in the production of an early command signal for stimulus interception, whereas M1 was still processing some aspect of the visual stimulus that were used to trigger the interception movement using a predictive mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurology & clinical neurophysiology : NCN
StatePublished - 2004


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