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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2010 Dec;20(6):731-40. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.09.015. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Spatial and non-spatial functions of the parietal cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, USA. jg2141@columbia.edu

Abstract

Although the parietal cortex is traditionally associated with spatial attention and sensorimotor integration, recent evidence also implicates it in higher order cognitive functions. We review relevant results from neuron recording studies showing that inferior parietal neurons integrate information regarding target location with a variety of non-spatial signals. Some of these signals are modulatory and alter a stimulus-evoked response according to the action, category, or reward associated with the stimulus. Other non-spatial inputs act independently, encoding the context or rules of a task even before the presentation of a specific target. Despite the ubiquity of non-spatial information in individual neurons, reversible inactivation of the parietal lobe affects only spatial orienting of attention and gaze, but not non-spatial aspects of performance. This suggests that non-spatial signals contribute to an underlying spatial computation, possibly allowing the brain to determine which targets are worthy of attention or action in a given task context.

PMID:
21050743
PMCID:
PMC3072821
DOI:
10.1016/j.conb.2010.09.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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