Self-images in the video monitor coded by monkey intraparietal neurons

Neurosci Res. 2001 Jun;40(2):163-73. doi: 10.1016/s0168-0102(01)00225-5.


When playing a video game, or using a teleoperator system, we feel our self-image projected into the video monitor as a part of or an extension of ourselves. Here we show that such a self image is coded by bimodal (somatosensory and visual) neurons in the monkey intraparietal cortex, which have visual receptive fields (RFs) encompassing their somatosensory RFs. We earlier showed these neurons to code the schema of the hand which can be altered in accordance with psychological modification of the body image; that is, when the monkey used a rake as a tool to extend its reach, the visual RFs of these neurons elongated along the axis of the tool, as if the monkey's self image extended to the end of the tool. In the present experiment, we trained monkeys to recognize their image in a video monitor (despite the earlier general belief that monkeys are not capable of doing so), and demonstrated that the visual RF of these bimodal neurons was now projected onto the video screen so as to code the image of the hand as an extension of the self. Further, the coding of the imaged hand could intentionally be altered to match the image artificially modified in the monitor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Image*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Computer Terminals
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Macaca / anatomy & histology
  • Macaca / physiology
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Self Concept
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Video Games / psychology