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Nat Neurosci. 2001 Oct;4(10):1020-5.

Direction of action is represented in the ventral premotor cortex.

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Research Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, W1640 Biomedical Science Tower, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The ventral premotor area (PMv) is a major source of input to the primary motor cortex (M1). To examine the potential hierarchical processing between these motor areas, we recorded the activity of PMv neurons in a monkey trained to perform wrist movements in different directions with the wrist in three different postures. The task dissociated three major variables of wrist movement: muscle activity, direction of joint movement and direction of movement in space. Many PMv neurons were directionally tuned. Nearly all of these neurons (61/65, 94%) were 'extrinsic-like'; they seemed to encode the direction of movement in space independent of forearm posture. These results are strikingly different from results from M1 of the same animal, and suggest that intracortical processing between PMv and M1 may contribute to a sensorimotor transformation between extrinsic and intrinsic coordinate frames.

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