Eye position signal modulates a human parietal pointing region during memory-guided movements.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined the signal in parietal regions that were selectively activated during delayed pointing to flashed visual targets and determined whether this signal was dependent on the fixation position of the eyes. Delayed pointing activated a bilateral parietal area in the intraparietal sulcus (rIPS), rostral/anterior to areas activated by saccades. During right-hand pointing to centrally located targets, the left rIPS region showed a significant increase in activation when the eye position was rightward compared with leftward. As expected, activation in motor cortex showed no modulation when only eye position changed. During pointing to retinotopically identical targets, the left rIPS region again showed a significant increased signal when the eye position was rightward compared with leftward. Conversely, when pointing with the left arm, the right rIPS showed an increase in signal when eye position was leftward compared with rightward. The results suggest that the human parietal hand/arm movement region (rIPS), like monkey parietal areas (Andersen et al., 1985), exhibits an eye position modulation of its activity; modulation that may be used to transform the coordinates of the retinotopically coded target position into a motor error command appropriate for the wrist.