Neural coding of 3D features of objects for hand action in the parietal cortex of the monkey

Hideo Sakata, Masato Taira, Makoto Kusunoki, Akira Murata, Yuji Tanaka, Ken Ichiro Tsutsui

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138 Citations (Scopus)


In our previous studies of hand manipulation task-related neurons, we found many neurons of the parietal association cortex which responded to the sight of three-dimensional (3D) objects. Most of the task-related neurons in the AIP area (the lateral bank of the anterior intraparietal sulcus) were visually responsive and half of them responded to objects for manipulation. Most of these neurons were selective for the 3D features of the objects. More recently, we have found binocular visual neurons in the lateral bank of the caudal intraparietal sulcus (c-IPS area) that preferentially respond to a luminous bar or plate at a particular orientation in space. We studied the responses of axis-orientation selective (AOS) neurons and surface-orientation selective (SOS) neurons in this area with stimuli presented on a 3D computer graphics display. The AOS neurons showed a stronger response to elongated stimuli and showed tuning to the orientation of the longitudinal axis. Many of them preferred a tilted stimulus in depth and appeared to be sensitive to orientation disparity and/or width disparity. The SOS neurons showed a stronger response to a fiat than to an elongated stimulus and showed tuning to the 3D orientation of the surface. Their responses increased with the width or length of the stimulus. A considerable number of SOS neurons responded to a square in a random dot stereogram and were tuned to orientation in depth, suggesting their sensitivity to the gradient of disparity. We also found several SOS neurons that responded to a square with tilted or slanted contours, suggesting their sensitivity to orientation disparity and/or width disparity. Area c-IPS is likely to send visual signals of the 3D features of an object to area AIP for the visual guidance of hand actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1373
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1373
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • 3D features
  • Axis-orientation
  • Orientation
  • Parietal cortex
  • Selective (AOS) neuron
  • Surface


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