How is higher cognitive function organized in the human parietal cortex? A century of neuropsychology and 30 years of functional neuroimaging has implicated the parietal lobe in many different verbal and nonverbal cognitive domains. There is little clarity, however, on how these functions are organized, that is, where do these functions coalesce (implying a shared, underpinning neurocomputation) and where do they divide (indicating different underlying neural functions). Until now, there has been no multi-domain synthesis in order to reveal where there is fusion or fission of functions in the parietal cortex. This aim was achieved through a large-scale activation likelihood estimation (ALE) analysis of 386 studies (3952 activation peaks) covering 8 cognitive domains. A tripartite, domain-general neuroanatomical division and 5 principles of cognitive organization were established, and these are discussed with respect to a unified theory of parietal functional organization.
Keywords: activation likelihood estimation analysis; angular gyrus; attention; episodic retrieval; functional neuroimaging; inferior parietal lobule; intra-parietal sulcus; neuropsychology; numerical tasks; parietal cortex; phonological processing; semantic processing; sentence-level processing; supramarginal gyrus; the default-mode network; tool-related tasks.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press.