Single neurons in posterior parietal cortex of monkeys encode cognitive set

Neuron. 2004 Jun 24;42(6):1003-12. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.06.003.


The primate posterior parietal cortex (PPC), part of the dorsal visual pathway, is best known for its role in encoding salient spatial information. Yet there are indications that neural activity in the PPC can also be modulated by nonspatial task-related information. In this study, we tested whether neurons in the PPC encode signals related to cognitive set, that is, the preparation to perform a particular task. Cognitive set has previously been associated with the frontal cortex but not the PPC. In this study, monkeys performed a cognitive set shifting paradigm in which they were cued in advance to apply one of two different task rules to the subsequent stimulus on every trial. Here we show that a subset of neurons in the PPC, concentrated in the lateral bank of the intraparietal sulcus and on the angular gyrus, responds selectively to cues for different task rules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Electrophysiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • ROC Curve
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception / physiology*