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Neuron. 2009 Dec 10;64(5):744-55. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.005.

Using a compound gain field to compute a reach plan.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


A gain field, the scaling of a tuned neuronal response by a postural signal, may help support neuronal computation. Here, we characterize eye and hand position gain fields in the parietal reach region (PRR). Eye and hand gain fields in individual PRR neurons are similar in magnitude but opposite in sign to one another. This systematic arrangement produces a compound gain field that is proportional to the distance between gaze location and initial hand position. As a result, the visual response to a target for an upcoming reach is scaled by the initial gaze-to-hand distance. Such a scaling is similar to what would be predicted in a neural network that mediates between eye- and hand-centered representations of target location. This systematic arrangement supports a role of PRR in visually guided reaching and provides strong evidence that gain fields are used for neural computations.

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