Eye position encoding in three-dimensional space: Integration of version and vergence signals in the medial posterior parietal cortex

Rossella Breveglieri, Konstantinos Chatzidimitrakis, Annalisa Bosco, Silvo P Sabatini, Claudio Galletti, Patrizia Fattori

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Eye position signals are pivotal in the visuomotor transformations performed by the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), but to date there are few studies addressing the influence of vergence angle upon single PPC neurons. In the present study, we investigated the influence on single neurons of the medial PPC area V6A of vergence and version signals. Single-unit activity was recorded from V6A in two Macaca fascicularis fixating real targets in darkness. The fixation targets were placed at eye level and at different vergence and version angles within the peripersonal space. Few neurons were modulated by version or vergence only, while the majority of cells were affected by both signals. Weadvance here the hypothesis that gaze-modulatedV6Acells are able to encode gazed positions in the three-dimensional space. In single cells, version and vergence influenced the discharge with variable time course. In several cases, the two gaze variables influence neural discharges during only a part of the fixation time, but, more often, their influence persisted through large parts of it. Cells discharging for the first 400-500 ms of fixation could signal the arrival of gaze (and/or of spotlight of attention) in a new position in the peripersonal space. Cells showing a more sustained activity during the fixation period could better signal the location in space of the gazed objects. Both signals are critical for the control of upcoming or ongoing arm movements, such as those needed to reach and grasp objects located in the peripersonal space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159 - 169
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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