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Neural encoding of felt and imagined touch within human posterior parietal cortex

Chivukula, Srinivas and Zhang, Carey and Aflalo, Tyson and Jafari, Matiar and Pejsa, Kelsie and Pouratian, Nader and Andersen, Richard A. (2020) Neural encoding of felt and imagined touch within human posterior parietal cortex. . (Unpublished)

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In the human posterior parietal cortex (PPC), single units encode high-dimensional information with partially mixed representations that enable small populations of neurons to encode many variables relevant to movement planning, execution, cognition, and perception. Here we test whether a PPC neuronal population previously demonstrated to encode visual and motor information is similarly selective in the somatosensory domain. We recorded from 1423 neurons within the PPC of a human clinical trial participant during objective touch presentation and during tactile imagery. Neurons encoded experienced touch with bilateral receptive fields, organized by body part, and covered all tested regions. Tactile imagery evoked body part specific responses that shared a neural substrate with experienced touch. Our results are the first neuron level evidence of touch encoding in human PPC and its cognitive engagement during tactile imagery which may reflect semantic processing, sensory anticipation, and imagined touch. 

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Chivukula, Srinivas0000-0002-3570-162X
Zhang, Carey0000-0001-9867-4510
Aflalo, Tyson0000-0002-0101-2455
Jafari, Matiar0000-0002-2224-4896
Pouratian, Nader0000-0002-0426-3241
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0001-9059-0523
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. Posted July 29, 2020. The authors would like to thank subject N.S. for participating in the studies, Viktor Shcherbatyuk for technical assistance, and Kelsie Pejsa for administrative and regulatory assistance. This work was supported by the National Institute of Health (R01EY015545), the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Brain-machine Interface Center at Caltech, the Conte Center for Social Decision Making at Caltech (P50MH094258), and the Boswell Foundation. Author Contributions: S.C., C.Z, and T.A. designed the study and developed experimental tasks, S.C., C.Z., M.J., and T.A. designed analysis and analyzed the data, S.C., C.Z. and T.A. collected the data, S.C., C.Z. and T.A. interpreted results and wrote the original draft, S.C., C.Z., M.J., N.P. and T.A., and R.A.A. reviewed and edited the paper, T.A., N.P. and R.A.A. provided mentorship, T.A. and R.A.A. acquired funding, K.P provided administrative and regulatory assistance, N.P. performed implantation surgery. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Conte Center for the Neurobiology of Social Decision MakingUNSPECIFIED
James G. Boswell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200730-111737023
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Neural encoding of felt and imagined touch within human posterior parietal cortex. Srinivas Chivukula, Carey Zhang, Tyson Aflalo, Matiar Jafari, Kelsie Pejsa, Nader Pouratian, Richard A Andersen bioRxiv 2020.07.27.223636; doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104656
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:30 Jul 2020 18:26
Last Modified:18 Aug 2020 20:13

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