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Bimodal (auditory and visual) left frontoparietal circuitry for sensorimotor integration and sensorimotor learning.

M Iacoboni, R P Woods, J C Mazziotta
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/121.11.2135 2135-2143 First published online: 1 November 1998


We used PET to test whether human premotor and posterior parietal areas can subserve basic sensorimotor integration and sensorimotor learning equivalently in response to auditory and visual stimuli, as has been shown in frontoparietal neurons in non-human primates. Normal subjects were studied while they performed a spatial compatibility task. They were instructed to respond to lateralized auditory and visual stimuli with the ipsilateral hand (compatible condition) or with the contralateral hand (incompatible condition). Reaction times were faster in the compatible than in the incompatible condition, for both auditory and visual stimuli. Left rostral dorsal premotor and posterior parietal blood-flow increases were observed in the incompatible condition, compared with the compatible condition, for both auditory and visual modalities. Blood-flow increases, which were correlated with the reaction-time learning curves, were observed in both auditory and visual modalities in the left caudal dorsal premotor cortex. These data suggest that, as in non-human primates, human frontoparietal areas can subserve basic sensorimotor transformations equivalently in the auditory and visual modality. Further, they reveal a functional rostrocaudal fractionation of human dorsal premotor cortex that resembles the rostrocaudal anatomical and physiological fractionation observed in non-human primates.