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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53812. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053812. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Preference for orientations commonly viewed for one's own hand in the anterior intraparietal cortex.

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Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Brain regions in the intraparietal and the premotor cortices selectively process visual and multisensory events near the hands (peri-hand space). Visual information from the hand itself modulates this processing potentially because it is used to estimate the location of one's own body and the surrounding space. In humans specific occipitotemporal areas process visual information of specific body parts such as hands. Here we used an fMRI block-design to investigate if anterior intraparietal and ventral premotor 'peri-hand areas' exhibit selective responses to viewing images of hands and viewing specific hand orientations. Furthermore, we investigated if the occipitotemporal 'hand area' is sensitive to viewed hand orientation. Our findings demonstrate increased BOLD responses in the left anterior intraparietal area when participants viewed hands and feet as compared to faces and objects. Anterior intraparietal and also occipitotemporal areas in the left hemisphere exhibited response preferences for viewing right hands with orientations commonly viewed for one's own hand as compared to uncommon own hand orientations. Our results indicate that both anterior intraparietal and occipitotemporal areas encode visual limb-specific shape and orientation information.

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