The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) has long been understood as a high-level integrative station for computing motor commands for the body based on sensory (i.e., mostly tactile and visual) input from the outside world. In the last decade, accumulating evidence has shown that the parietal areas not only extract the pragmatic features of manipulable objects, but also subserve sensorimotor processing of others’ actions. A paradigmatic case is that of the anterior intraparietal area (AIP), which encodes the identity of observed manipulative actions that afford potential motor actions the observer could perform in response to them. On these bases, we propose an AIP manipulative action-based template of the general planning functions of the PPC and review existing evidence supporting the extension of this model to other PPC regions and to a wider set of actions: defensive and locomotor actions. In our model, a hallmark of PPC functioning is the processing of information about the physical and social world to encode potential bodily actions appropriate for the current context. We further extend the model to actions performed with man-made objects (e.g., tools) and artifacts, because they become integral parts of the subject’s body schema and motor repertoire. Finally, we conclude that existing evidence supports a generally conserved neural circuitry that transforms integrated sensory signals into the variety of bodily actions that primates are capable of preparing and performing to interact with their physical and social world.
Parietal maps of visual signals for bodily action planning / Orban, G. A.; Sepe, A.; Bonini, L.. - In: BRAIN STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION. - ISSN 1863-2653. - 226:9(2021), pp. 2967-2988. [10.1007/s00429-021-02378-6]
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