From Thought to Action: The Parietal Cortex as a Bridge Between Perception, Action, and Cognition

Neuron. 2007 Jan 4;53(1):9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.12.009.


The lateral intraparietal area (LIP) is a subdivision of the inferior parietal lobe that has been implicated in the guidance of spatial attention. In a variety of tasks, LIP provides a "salience representation" of the external world-a topographic visual representation that encodes the locations of salient or behaviorally relevant objects. Recent neurophysiological experiments show that this salience representation incorporates information about multiple behavioral variables-such as a specific motor response, reward, or category membership-associated with the task-relevant object. This integration occurs in a wide variety of tasks, including those requiring eye or limb movements or goal-directed or nontargeting operant responses. Thus, LIP acts as a multifaceted behavioral integrator that binds visuospatial, motor, and cognitive information into a topographically organized signal of behavioral salience. By specifying attentional priority as a synthesis of multiple task demands, LIP operates at the interface of perception, action, and cognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Awareness / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*