Coding the Location of the Arm by Sight

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Science  01 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5497, pp. 1782-1786
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5497.1782

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Area 5 in the parietal lobe of the primate brain is thought to be involved in monitoring the posture and movement of the body. In this study, neurons in monkey area 5 were found to encode the position of the monkey's arm while it was covered from view. The same neurons also responded to the position of a visible, realistic false arm. The neurons were not sensitive to the sight of unrealistic substitutes for the arm and were able to distinguish a right from a left arm. These neurons appear to combine visual and somatosensory signals in order to monitor the configuration of the limbs. They could form the basis of the complex body schema that we constantly use to adjust posture and guide movement.

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