Parietal oscillations code nonvisual reach targets relative to gaze and body
SourceThe Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 8, (2013), pp. 3492-3499
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
The Journal of Neuroscience
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Recent blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) imaging work has suggested flexible coding frames for reach targets in human posterior parietal cortex, with a gaze-centered reference frame for visually guided reaches and a body-centered frame for proprioceptive reaches. However, BOLD activity, which reflects overall population activity, is insensitive to heterogeneous responses at the neuronal level and temporal dynamics between neurons. Neurons could synchronize in different frequency bands to form assemblies operating in different reference frames. Here we assessed the reference frames of oscillatory activity in parietal cortex during reach planning to nonvisible tactile stimuli. Under continuous recording of magneto-encephalographic data, subjects fixated either to the left or right of the body midline, while a tactile stimulus was presented to a nonvisible fingertip, located either to the left or right of gaze. After a delay, they had to reach toward the remembered stimulus location with the other hand. Our results show body-centered and gaze-centered reference frames underlying the power modulations in specific frequency bands. Whereas beta-band activity (18–30 Hz) in parietal regions showed body-centered spatial selectivity, the high gamma band (>60 Hz) demonstrated a transient remapping into gaze-centered coordinates in parietal and extrastriate visual areas. This gaze-centered coding was sustained in the low gamma (<60 Hz) and alpha (∼10 Hz) bands. Our results show that oscillating subpopulations encode remembered tactile targets for reaches relative to gaze, even though neither the sensory nor the motor output processes operate in this frame. We discuss these findings in the light of flexible control mechanisms across modalities and effectors.
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