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Exp Brain Res. 2004 Sep;158(1):9-17. Epub 2004 Mar 17.

Neural mechanisms of spatial stimulus-response compatibility: the effect of crossed-hand position.

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  • 1Brain Information Group, Communications Research Laboratory, Kansai Advanced Research Center, 588-2 Iwaoka, Iwaoka-cho, Nishi-ku, Hyogo 651-2429, Kobe, Japan.


Previous psychological experiments have indicated the existence of a visual-proprioceptive interaction in spatial stimulus-response compatibility (SSRC) tasks, but there is little specific information on the neural basis of such interaction in humans. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we compared the neural activity associated with two different aspects of spatial coding: the coding of the "internal" spatial position of motor-response effectors (i.e., the position of body parts) as obtained through proprioception, and the coding of "external" positions, i.e., the positions of visual stimuli. A 2 x 2 factorial design was used to investigate the spatial compatibility (incompatible versus compatible) between a visual stimulus and hand position (crossed versus uncrossed). The subjects were instructed to respond to stimuli presented to the right or left visual field with either the ipsilateral (compatible condition) or the contralateral hand (incompatible condition). The incompatible condition produced stronger activation in the bilateral superior parietal lobule, inferior parietal lobule, and bilateral superior frontal gyrus than the compatible condition. The crossed-hand condition produced stronger activation in the bilateral precentral gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, superior parietal lobule, and superior temporal gyrus than the uncrossed-hand condition. These results suggest that activity in the frontal-parietal regions is related to two functions: (1) representation of the visual stimulus-motor response spatial configuration in an SSRC task, and (2) integration between external visual and internal proprioceptive sensory information. The activation in the superior temporal gyrus was not affected by the visual stimulus-motor response spatial configuration in an SSRC task; rather, it was affected by the crossed-hand posture. Thus, it seems to be related to representing internal proprioceptive sensory information necessary to carry out motor actions.

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