Current knowledge regarding the processing of observed manipulative actions (OMAs) (e.g., grasping, dragging, or dropping) is limited to grasping and underlying neural circuitry remains controversial. Here, we addressed these issues by combining chronic neuronal recordings along the anteroposterior extent of monkeys' anterior intraparietal (AIP) area with tracer injections into the recorded sites. We found robust neural selectivity for 7 distinct OMAs, particularly in the posterior part of AIP (pAIP), where it was associated with motor coding of grip type and own-hand visual feedback. This cluster of functional properties appears to be specifically grounded in stronger direct connections of pAIP with the temporal regions of the ventral visual stream and the prefrontal cortex, as connections with skeletomotor related areas and regions of the dorsal visual stream exhibited opposite or no rostrocaudal gradients. Temporal and prefrontal areas may provide visual and contextual information relevant for manipulative action processing. These results revise existing models of the action observation network, suggesting that pAIP constitutes a parietal hub for routing information about OMA identity to the other nodes of the network.
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