Saccade-related activity in the lateral intraparietal area. II. Spatial properties

J Neurophysiol. 1991 Sep;66(3):1109-24. doi: 10.1152/jn.1991.66.3.1109.


1. Single-neuron activity was recorded from the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) of Macaca mulatta monkeys while they were performing delayed saccades and related tasks. Temporal characteristics of this activity were presented in the companion paper. Here we focus on the spatial characteristics of the activity. The analysis was based on recordings from 145 neurons. All these neurons were from the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), a recently defined subdivision of the IPL. 2. Delayed saccades were made in eight directions. Direction-tuning curves were calculated for each neuron, during each of the following activity phases that were described in the companion paper: light sensitive (LS), delay-period memory (M), and saccade related (S); the latter further partitioned into presaccadic (Pre-S), saccade coincident (S-Co), and postsaccadic (Post-S). 3. Width and preferred direction were calculated for each direction-tuning curve. We studied the distributions of widths and preferred directions in LIP's neuronal population. In each case we included only neurons that showed clear excitatory activity in the phases in question. 4. Width was defined as the angle over which the response was higher than 50% of its maximal net value. Width distributions were similar for all phases studied. Widths varied widely from neuron to neuron, from very narrow (less than 45 degrees) to very wide (close to 360 degrees). Median widths were approximately 90 degrees in all phases. 5. Preferred-direction distributions were also similar for various phases. All directions were represented in each distribution, but contralateral directions were more frequent (e.g., 69% for S-Co). 6. For each neuron the alignment of the preferred directions of its various phases was determined. Distributions of alignments were calculated (again, phases that were not clearly excitatory were disregarded). On the level of the neuronal population LS, M, and Pre-S were well aligned with each other. S-Co was also aligned with these phases, but less precisely. 7. A set of "narrowly tuned" neurons was selected by imposing a constraint of narrow (width, less than 90 degrees) LS and S-Co direction tuning. In this set of neurons, the LS and S-Co preferred directions were very well aligned (median, 12 degrees). The fraction of narrowly tuned neurons in the population was 40% (25/63). Thus, in a large subpopulation of area LIP, a fairly precise alignment exists between sensory and motor fields. 8. An additional set of 82 area LIP neurons were recorded while the monkey performed delayed saccades to 32 targets located on small, medium, and large imaginary circles.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology