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Context-specific grasp movement representation in the macaque anterior intraparietal area


Baumann, M A; Fluet, M C; Scherberger, H (2009). Context-specific grasp movement representation in the macaque anterior intraparietal area. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(20):6436-6448.

Abstract

To perform grasping movements, the hand is shaped according to the form of the target object and the intended manipulation, which in turn depends on the context of the action. The anterior intraparietal cortex (AIP) is strongly involved in the sensorimotor transformation of grasping movements, but the extent to which it encodes context-specific information for hand grasping is unclear. To explore this issue, we recorded 571 single-units in AIP of two macaques during a delayed grasping task, in which animals were instructed by an external context cue (LED) to perform power or precision grips on a handle that was presented in various orientations. While 55% of the recorded neurons encoded the object orientation from the cue epoch on, the number of cells encoding the grip type increased from 25% during the cue epoch to 58% during movement execution. Furthermore, a classification of cells according to the time of their tuning onset revealed differences in the function and anatomical location of early- versus late-tuned cells. In a cue separation task, when the object was presented first, neurons representing power or precision grips were activated simultaneously until the actual grip type was instructed. In contrast, when the grasp type instruction was presented before the object, type information was only weakly represented in AIP, but was strongly encoded after the grasp target was revealed. We conclude that AIP encodes context specific hand grasping movements to perceived objects, but in the absence of a grasp target, the encoding of context information is weak.

To perform grasping movements, the hand is shaped according to the form of the target object and the intended manipulation, which in turn depends on the context of the action. The anterior intraparietal cortex (AIP) is strongly involved in the sensorimotor transformation of grasping movements, but the extent to which it encodes context-specific information for hand grasping is unclear. To explore this issue, we recorded 571 single-units in AIP of two macaques during a delayed grasping task, in which animals were instructed by an external context cue (LED) to perform power or precision grips on a handle that was presented in various orientations. While 55% of the recorded neurons encoded the object orientation from the cue epoch on, the number of cells encoding the grip type increased from 25% during the cue epoch to 58% during movement execution. Furthermore, a classification of cells according to the time of their tuning onset revealed differences in the function and anatomical location of early- versus late-tuned cells. In a cue separation task, when the object was presented first, neurons representing power or precision grips were activated simultaneously until the actual grip type was instructed. In contrast, when the grasp type instruction was presented before the object, type information was only weakly represented in AIP, but was strongly encoded after the grasp target was revealed. We conclude that AIP encodes context specific hand grasping movements to perceived objects, but in the absence of a grasp target, the encoding of context information is weak.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Neuroinformatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:May 2009
Deposited On:28 Feb 2010 08:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:59
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Additional Information:Holder of copyright: The Society for Neuroscience
Publisher DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5479-08.2009
Related URLs:http://www.ini.uzh.ch/node/21441 (Organisation)
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-31936

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