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PLOS ONE  2007 

A Functional Architecture of Optic Flow in the Inferior Parietal Lobule of the Behaving Monkey

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000200

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The representation of navigational optic flow across the inferior parietal lobule was assessed using optical imaging of intrinsic signals in behaving monkeys. The exposed cortex, corresponding to the dorsal-most portion of areas 7a and dorsal prelunate (DP), was imaged in two hemispheres of two rhesus monkeys. The monkeys actively attended to changes in motion stimuli while fixating. Radial expansion and contraction, and rotation clockwise and counter-clockwise optic flow stimuli were presented concentric to the fixation point at two angles of gaze to assess the interrelationship between the eye position and optic flow signal. The cortical response depended upon the type of flow and was modulated by eye position. The optic flow selectivity was embedded in a patchy architecture within the gain field architecture. All four optic flow stimuli tested were represented in areas 7a and DP. The location of the patches varied across days. However the spatial periodicity of the patches remained constant across days at ~950 and 1100 μm for the two animals examined. These optical recordings agree with previous electrophysiological studies of area 7a, and provide new evidence for flow selectivity in DP and a fine scale description of its cortical topography. That the functional architectures for optic flow can change over time was unexpected. These and earlier results also from inferior parietal lobule support the inclusion of both static and dynamic functional architectures that define association cortical areas and ultimately support complex cognitive function.


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