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Neuroimage. 2007 May 1;35(4):1562-77. Epub 2007 Feb 8.

Parietal and superior frontal visuospatial maps activated by pointing and saccades.

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Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr. #0515, La Jolla, CA 92093-0515, USA.


A recent study from our laboratory demonstrated that parietal cortex contains a map of visual space related to saccades and spatial attention and identified this area as the likely human homologue of the lateral intraparietal (LIP). A human homologue for the parietal reach region (PRR), thought to preferentially encode planned hand movements, has also been recently proposed. Both of these areas, originally identified in the macaque monkey, have been shown to encode space with eye-centered coordinates. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of humans was used to test the hypothesis that the putative human PRR contains a retinotopic map recruited by finger pointing but not saccades and to test more generally for differences in the visuospatial maps recruited by pointing and saccades. We identified multiple maps in both posterior parietal cortex and superior frontal cortex recruited for eye and hand movements, including maps not observed in previous mapping studies. Pointing and saccade maps were generally consistent within single subjects. We have developed new group analysis methods for phase-encoded data, which revealed subtle differences between pointing and saccades, including hemispheric asymmetries, but we did not find evidence of pointing-specific maps of visual space.

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