Neural mechanisms of limb position estimation in the primate brain.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the neural mechanisms of limb position estimation is important both for comprehending the neural control of goal directed arm movements and for developing neuroprosthetic systems designed to replace lost limb function. Here we examined the role of area 5 of the posterior parietal cortex in estimating limb position based on visual and somatic (proprioceptive, efference copy) signals. Single unit recordings were obtained as monkeys reached to visual targets presented in a semi-immersive virtual reality environment. On half of the trials animals were required to maintain their limb position at these targets while receiving both visual and non-visual feedback of their arm position, while on the other trials visual feedback was withheld. When examined individually, many area 5 neurons were tuned to the position of the limb in the workspace but very few neurons modulated their firing rates based on the presence/absence of visual feedback. At the population level however decoding of limb position was somewhat more accurate when visual feedback was provided. These findings support a role for area 5 in limb position estimation but also suggest that visual signals regarding limb position are only weakly represented in this area, and only at the population level.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics

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