The TINS Lecture. The parietal association cortex in depth perception and visual control of hand action

Trends Neurosci. 1997 Aug;20(8):350-7. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(97)01067-9.


Recent neurophysiological studies in alert monkeys have revealed that the parietal association cortex plays a crucial role in depth perception and visually guided hand movement. The following five classes of parietal neurons covering various aspects of these functions have been identified: (1) depth-selective visual-fixation (VF) neurons of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL), representing egocentric distance; (2) depth-movement sensitive (DMS) neurons of V5A and the ventral intraparietal (VIP) area representing direction of linear movement in 3-D space; (3) depth-rotation-sensitive (RS) neurons of V5A and the posterior parietal (PP) area representing direction of rotary movement in space; (4) visually responsive manipulation-related neurons (visual-dominant or visual-and-motor type) of the anterior intraparietal (AIP) area, representing 3-D shape or orientation (or both) of objects for manipulation; and (5) axis-orientation-selective (AOS) and surface-orientation-selective (SOS) neurons in the caudal intraparietal sulcus (cIPS) sensitive to binocular disparity and representing the 3-D orientation of the longitudinal axes and flat surfaces, respectively. Some AOS and SOS neurons are selective in both orientation and shape. Thus the dorsal visual pathway is divided into at least two subsystems, V5A, PP and VIP areas for motion vision and V6, LIP and cIPS areas for coding position and 3-D features. The cIPS sends the signals of 3-D features of objects to the AIP area, which is reciprocally connected to the ventral premotor (F5) area and plays an essential role in matching hand orientation and shaping with 3-D objects for manipulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depth Perception / physiology*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*