A lesion of the posterior parietal cortex disrupts on-line adjustments during aiming movements

Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(13):2471-80. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(02)00009-x.


It is long known that the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is critically involved in goal-directed movements. Nevertheless, there are still some controversies about its specific functions. Although most published studies have emphasised the role of PPC in sensorimotor planning processes, it has been recently suggested that PPC can also participate to on-line movement control. We studied kinematics of hand movements in a patient with a bilateral PPC lesion who exhibited no deficit in planning of her grasping movements in central vision. She was instructed to reach and grasp a cylinder presented at different locations and her motor performance was compared to that of four healthy control subjects. To address on-line control specifically, the cylinder was quickly and unexpectedly jumped, on a few trials, at movement onset, to a new location some 10 degrees (of apparent visual angle) from the original location. The patient could easily grasp stationary objects seen in foveal vision, exhibiting the same kinematic pattern as controls. Therefore, she could plan movements accurately. In response to the object jump, unlike the controls, the patient was unable to amend her ongoing movement. In this situation, she completed two distinct movements, a first one toward the initial object location and a second one toward the final object location. These results support the hypothesis that beyond a role in movement planning, PPC plays a major role in the on-line control of reach-to-grasp movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Parietal Lobe / pathology*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnosis