Functional organization of human intraparietal and frontal cortex for attending, looking, and pointing

Serguei V. Astafiev, Gordon L. Shulman, Christine M. Stanley, Abraham Z. Snyder, David C. Van Essen, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

494 Scopus citations


We studied the functional organization of human posterior parietal and frontal cortex using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map preparatory signals for attending, looking, and pointing to a peripheral visual location. The human frontal eye field and two separate regions in the intraparietal sulcus were similarly recruited in all conditions, suggesting an attentional role that generalizes across response effectors. However, the preparation of a pointing movement selectively activated a different group of regions, suggesting a stronger role in motor planning. These regions were lateralized to the left hemisphere, activated by preparation of movements of either hand, and included the inferior and superior parietal lobule, precuneus, and posterior superior temporal sulcus, plus the dorsal premotor and anterior cingulate cortex anteriorly. Surface-based registration of macaque cortical areas onto the map of fMRI responses suggests a relatively good spatial correspondence between human and macaque parietal areas. In contrast, large interspecies differences were noted in the topography of frontal areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4689-4699
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Arm pointing
  • Attention
  • Eye movements
  • Frontal cortex
  • Parietal cortex
  • fMRI


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