Parietal cortex neurons of the monkey related to the visual guidance of hand movement

A class of neurons specifically related to hand movements was studied in the posterior parietal cortex while the monkeys manipulated different types of objects. We examined the neuronal activity during manipulation of objects by the hand in the light and in the dark. Fiftyfive neurons were active during manipulation in the dark and were classified as "hand-movement-related" neurons. Of these, 38/55 (69%) cells were also influenced by the visual stimulus. Most of the hand-movement-related neurons were selective in the type of objects manipulated. Moreover, some of these cells were selective in the axis of orientation of the object. These results suggest that the hand-movement-related neurons of the parietal cortex are concerned with the visual guidance of the hand movement, especially in matching the pattern of movement with the spatial characteristics of the object to be manipulated.