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Sabine Kastner; Comparative studies of posterior parietal cortex in human and non-human primates. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1298. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1298.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
The primate parietal cortex serves many functions, ranging from integrating sensory signals and deriving motor plans to playing a critical role in cognitive functions related to object categorization, attentional selection, working memory or decision making. This brain region undergoes significant changes during evolution and can therefore serve as a model for a better understanding of the evolution of cognition. I will present comparative studies obtained in human and non-human primates using basically identical methods and tasks related to topographic and functional organization, neural representation of object information and attention-related signals. Topographic and functional mapping studies identified not only the parietal regions that primate species have in common, but also revealed several human-specific areas along the intraparietal sulcus. FMRI studies on parietal object representations show that in humans, they resemble those typically found in ventral visual cortex and appear to be more complex than those observed in non-human primates suggesting advanced functionality possibly related to the evolving human-specific tool network. Finally, electrophysiological signatures of parietal attention signals in space-based attention tasks are similar in many respects across primate species providing evidence for preserved functionality in this particular cognitive domain. Together, our comparative studies contribute to a more profound understanding of the evolution of cognitive domains related to object perception and attention in primates.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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