Dorsal premotor neurons encode the relative position of the hand, eye, and goal during reach planning

Neuron. 2006 Jul 6;51(1):125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.05.025.


When reaching to grasp an object, we often move our arm and orient our gaze together. How are these movements coordinated? To investigate this question, we studied neuronal activity in the dorsal premotor area (PMd) and the medial intraparietal area (area MIP) of two monkeys while systematically varying the starting position of the hand and eye during reaching. PMd neurons encoded the relative position of the target, hand, and eye. MIP neurons encoded target location with respect to the eye only. These results indicate that whereas MIP encodes target locations in an eye-centered reference frame, PMd uses a relative position code that specifies the differences in locations between all three variables. Such a relative position code may play an important role in coordinating hand and eye movements by computing their relative position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Eye
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Volition / physiology