Evidence for a dorso-medial parietal system involved in mental transformations of the body

J Neurophysiol. 1996 Sep;76(3):2042-8. doi: 10.1152/jn.1996.76.3.2042.


1. The neural systems underlying body-space mental representation were studied by measuring changes in regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) with positron emission tomography in human subjects. 2. The experimental paradigm involved identification of the left or the right hand of the experimenter presented in different orientations or the palm of the subject's right hand. The subjects were required to decide whether it was the left or the right hand that was presented. To perform this task, the subjects had to move mentally the position of their own arm to adopt that of the experimenter's arm. The control condition involved the same type of tactual stimulation without the requirement of mental transformations of the subject's body position. The distribution of CBF was measured by means of the water bolus H2(15)O methodology during the performance of these tasks. 3. Comparison of the distribution of CBF between the experimental and control tasks was carried out to reveal changes specific to the mental transformations of the subject's body. Significant blood flow increases were observed in the caudal superior parietal cortex, including the intraparietal sulcus, and the adjacent medial parietal cortex. These findings demonstrated that there is a dorsomedially directed parietal system underlying mental transformations of the body in interactive relation with external space.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / blood supply
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Touch / physiology