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Neuron. 2013 Dec 4;80(5):1310-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Nov 14.

Diverse spatial reference frames of vestibular signals in parietal cortex.

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Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Reference frames are important for understanding how sensory cues from different modalities are coordinated to guide behavior, and the parietal cortex is critical to these functions. We compare reference frames of vestibular self-motion signals in the ventral intraparietal area (VIP), parietoinsular vestibular cortex (PIVC), and dorsal medial superior temporal area (MSTd). Vestibular heading tuning in VIP is invariant to changes in both eye and head positions, indicating a body (or world)-centered reference frame. Vestibular signals in PIVC have reference frames that are intermediate between head and body centered. In contrast, MSTd neurons show reference frames between head and eye centered but not body centered. Eye and head position gain fields were strongest in MSTd and weakest in PIVC. Our findings reveal distinct spatial reference frames for representing vestibular signals and pose new challenges for understanding the respective roles of these areas in potentially diverse vestibular functions.

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