Mental transformations in the motor cortex
The behavioral and neural correlates of processing of motor directional information are described for two visuomotor tasks: mental rotation and context-recall. Psychological studies with human subjects suggested that these two tasks involve different time-consuming processes of directional information. Analyses of the activity of single cells and neuronal populations in the motor cortex of behaving monkeys performing in the same tasks provided direct insight into the neural mechanisms involved and confirmed their different nature. In the mental rotation task the patterns of neuronal activity revealed a rotation of the intended direction of movement. In contrast, in the context-recall task the patterns of neural activity identified a switching process of the intended direction of movement.