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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Sep;56:73-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.06.014. Epub 2015 Jun 22.

Organization and evolution of parieto-frontal processing streams in macaque monkeys and humans.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome SAPIENZA, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:
Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Brain and Mind Institute, Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome SAPIENZA, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy.


The functional organization of the parieto-frontal system is crucial for understanding cognitive-motor behavior and provides the basis for interpreting the consequences of parietal lesions in humans from a neurobiological perspective. The parieto-frontal connectivity defines some main information streams that, rather than being devoted to restricted functions, underlie a rich behavioral repertoire. Surprisingly, from macaque to humans, evolution has added only a few, new functional streams, increasing however their complexity and encoding power. In fact, the characterization of the conduction times of parietal and frontal areas to different target structures has recently opened a new window on cortical dynamics, suggesting that evolution has amplified the probability of dynamic interactions between the nodes of the network, thanks to communication patterns based on temporally-dispersed conduction delays. This might allow the representation of sensory-motor signals within multiple neural assemblies and reference frames, as to optimize sensory-motor remapping within an action space characterized by different and more complex demands across evolution.


Conduction delays; Emergence of areas; Exaptation; Frontal clusters; Frontal cortex; Homology; Parietal clusters; Parietal cortex; Parietal evolution; Parietal lesion; Parietal patients; Parietal streams; Parieto-frontal connections

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