Head position signals used by parietal neurons to encode locations of visual stimuli

Nature. 1995 May 18;375(6528):232-5. doi: 10.1038/375232a0.


The mechanism for object location in the environment, and the perception of the external world as stable when eyes, head and body are moved, have long been thought to be centred on the posterior parietal cortex. However, head position signals, and their integration with visual and eye position signals to form a representation of space referenced to the body, have never been examined in any area of the cortex. Here we show that the visual and saccadic activities of parietal neurons are strongly affected by head position. The eye and head position effects are equivalent for individual neurons, indicating that the modulation is a function of gaze direction, regardless of whether the eyes or head are used to direct gaze. These data are consistent with the idea that the posterior parietal cortex contains a distributed representation of space in body-centred coordinates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Head*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Posture
  • Retina / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*