The Mental Representation of Hand Movements After Parietal Cortex Damage

Science  13 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5281, pp. 1564-1568
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5281.1564


Recent neuroimagery findings showed that the patterns of cerebral activation during the mental rehearsal of a motor act are similar to those produced by its actual execution. This concurs with the notion that part of the distributed neural activity taking place during movement involves internal simulations, but it is not yet clear what specific contribution the different brain areas involved bring to this process. Here, patients with lesions restricted to the parietal cortex were found to be impaired selectively at predicting, through mental imagery, the time necessary to perform differentiated finger movements and visually guided pointing gestures, in comparison to normal individuals and to a patient with damage to the primary motor area. These results suggest that the parietal cortex is important for the ability to generate mental movement representations.

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