Functional heterogeneity of medial posterior parietal cortex of macaque monkey

De Vitis, Marina (2020) Functional heterogeneity of medial posterior parietal cortex of macaque monkey, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biomediche e neuromotorie, 31 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9166.
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The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) of primates represents a remarkable platform that has evolved over time to solve some of the computational challenges that we face in the everyday life, such as sensorimotor integration, spatial attention, and motor planning. With the aim of further investigating the multifaceted functional characteristics of medial PPC, we conducted three studies to explore the visuomotor, somatic, visual, and attention-related properties of two PPC areas: V6A, a visuomotor area part of the dorsomedial visual stream, and PE, an area strongly dominated by somatomotor input, residing mainly on the exposed surface of the superior parietal lobule. In the first study, we tested the impact of visual feedback on V6A grasp-related activity during arm movements towards objects of different shapes. Our results demonstrate that V6A is modulated by both grip type and visual information during grasping preparation and execution, with a predominance of cells influenced by grip type. In the second study, we explored the influence of depth and direction information on reach-related activity of neurons in the so far largely neglected medial part of area PE. We observed a remarkable trend in medial PPC, going from the joint coding of depth and direction signals caudally, in area V6A, to a largely segregated processing of the two signals rostrally, in area PE. In the third study, we used a combined fMRI-electrophysiology experiment to investigate the neuronal mechanisms underlying covert shift of attention processes in area V6A. Our preliminary results reveal that half of the cells showed shift-selective activity when the monkey covertly shifted its attention towards the receptive field. All together these findings highlight the role of the medial PPC in integrating information coming from different sources (vision, somatosensory and motor) and emphasize the involvement of action-related regions of the dorsomedial visual stream in higher level cognitive functions.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
De Vitis, Marina
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Posterior parietal cortex, Dorsal visual stream, Grasping, Reaching, Somatosensory and visual responses, Attention, Electrophysiology, fMRI
Data di discussione
10 Febbraio 2020

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