A Caltech Library Service

Encoding of Intention and Spatial Location in the Posterior Parietal Cortex

Andersen, Richard A. (1995) Encoding of Intention and Spatial Location in the Posterior Parietal Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 5 (5). pp. 457-469. ISSN 1047-3211. doi:10.1093/cercor/5.5.457.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The posterior parietal cortex is functionally situated between sensory cortex and motor cortex. The responses of cells in this area are difficult to classify as strictly sensory or motor, since many have both sensory- and movement-related activities, as well as activities related to higher cognitive functions such as attention and intention. In this review we will provide evidence that the posterior parietal cortex is an interface between sensory and motor structures and performs various functions important for sensory-motor integration. The review will focus on two specific sensory-motor tasks-the formation of motor plans and the abstract representation of space. Cells in the lateral intraparietal area, a subdivision of the parietal cortex, have activity related to eye movements the animal intends to make. This finding represents the lowest stage in the sensory-motor cortical pathway in which activity related to intention has been found and may represent the cortical stage in which sensory signals go "over the hump" to become intentions and plans to make movements. The second part of the review will discuss the representation of space in the posterior parietal cortex. Encoding spatial locations is an essential step in sensory-motor transformations. Since movements are made to locations in space, these locations should be coded invariant of eye and head position or the sensory modality signaling the target for a movement Data will be reviewed demonstrating that there exists in the posterior parietal cortex an abstract representation of space that is constructed from the integration of visual, auditory, vestibular, eye position, and propriocaptive head position signals. This representation is in the form of a population code and the above signals are not combined in a haphazard fashion. Rather, they are brought together using a specific operation to form "planar gain fields" that are the common foundation of the population code for the neural construct of space.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:© Oxford University Press 1995 I thank Larry Snyder for comments on a draft of the manuscript, and Laura Rodriguez and Carol Andersen for editorial assistance.
Subject Keywords:signal transductioneye movementmental processesmotor cortexeyeparietal lobesensory modalityhead position
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:ANDcecor95
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Richard A. Andersen, Encoding of Intention and Spatial Location in the Posterior Parietal Cortex, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 5, Issue 5, September 1995, Pages 457–469,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1435
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:18 Jan 2006
Last Modified:28 Sep 2022 16:27

Repository Staff Only: item control page