The role of the caudal superior parietal lobule in updating hand location in peripheral vision: further evidence from optic ataxia

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46619. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046619. Epub 2012 Oct 5.


Patients with optic ataxia (OA), who are missing the caudal portion of their superior parietal lobule (SPL), have difficulty performing visually-guided reaches towards extra-foveal targets. Such gaze and hand decoupling also occurs in commonly performed non-standard visuomotor transformations such as the use of a computer mouse. In this study, we test two unilateral OA patients in conditions of 1) a change in the physical location of the visual stimulus relative to the plane of the limb movement, 2) a cue that signals a required limb movement 180° opposite to the cued visual target location, or 3) both of these situations combined. In these non-standard visuomotor transformations, the OA deficit is not observed as the well-documented field-dependent misreach. Instead, OA patients make additional eye movements to update hand and goal location during motor execution in order to complete these slow movements. Overall, the OA patients struggled when having to guide centrifugal movements in peripheral vision, even when they were instructed from visual stimuli that could be foveated. We propose that an intact caudal SPL is crucial for any visuomotor control that involves updating ongoing hand location in space without foveating it, i.e. from peripheral vision, proprioceptive or predictive information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ataxia / physiopathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hand / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*