Multimodal representation of space in the posterior parietal cortex and its use in planning movements

Annu Rev Neurosci. 1997:20:303-30. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.20.1.303.


Recent experiments are reviewed that indicate that sensory signals from many modalities, as well as efference copy signals from motor structures, converge in the posterior parietal cortex in order to code the spatial locations of goals for movement. These signals are combined using a specific gain mechanism that enables the different coordinate frames of the various input signals to be combined into common, distributed spatial representations. These distributed representations can be used to convert the sensory locations of stimuli into the appropriate motor coordinates required for making directed movements. Within these spatial representations of the posterior parietal cortex are neural activities related to higher cognitive functions, including attention. We review recent studies showing that the encoding of intentions to make movements is also among the cognitive functions of this area.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology*