Reaching movements with similar hand paths but different arm orientations. II. Activity of individual cells in dorsal premotor cortex and parietal area 5. J. Neurophysiol. 78: 2413-2426, 1997. Neuronal activity in primary motor cortex (MI) is altered when monkeys make reaching movements along similar handpaths at shoulder level with two different arm orientations, either in the natural orientation with the elbow positioned below the level of the shoulder and hand or in an abducted orientation with the elbow abducted nearly to shoulder level. The present study examines to what degree two other cortical areas, the dorsal premotor (PMd) and parietal area 5, also show modulation of cell activity related to arm geometry during reaching. The activity of most (89%) of the 207 cells in PMd recorded while monkeys made reaching movements showed a statistically significant change in activity between orientations [analysis of variation (ANOVA), P < 0.01]. A common effect of arm orientation on cell activity was a change in the overall level of discharge either before, during, and/or after movement (67%, ANOVA, task main effect, P < 0.01). Many cells (76%) showed a statistical change in their response to movement direction (ANOVA, task x direction interaction term, P < 0.01), including changes in dynamic range and changes in the preferred direction of cells that were directionally tuned in both arm orientations. Overall, these effects were similar qualitatively but not as strong quantitatively as those observed in MI. A sample of cells was recorded in area 5 of one monkey. Most (95%) of the 79 area 5 cells showed a change in activity when reaching movements were performed using different arm orientations (ANOVA, P < 0.01). As in PMd and MI, many area 5 cells (56, 71%) showed changes in their tonic discharge before, during, and/or after movement, and 70 cells (89%) showed changes in their response to movement direction (ANOVA, task x direction interaction term, P < 0.01). The observed changes in neuronal activity related to posture and movement in MI, PMd and area 5 demonstrate that single-cell activity in these cortical areas is not simply related to the spatial attributes of hand trajectory but is also strongly influenced by attributes of movement related to arm geometry.