Idiosyncratic and systematic aspects of spatial representations in the macaque parietal cortex

Steve W.C. Chang, Lawrence H. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The sensorimotor transformations for visually guided reaching were originally thought to take place in a series of discrete transitions from one systematic frame of reference to the next with neurons coding location relative to the fixation position (gaze-centered) in occipital and posterior parietal areas, relative to the shoulder in dorsal premotor cortex, and in muscle- or joint-based coordinates in motor output neurons. Recent empirical and theoretical work has suggested that spatial encodings that use a range of idiosyncratic representations may increase computational power and flexibility. We now show that neurons in the parietal reach region use nonuniform and idiosyncratic frames of reference. We also show that these nonsystematic reference frames coexist with a systematic compound gain field that modulates activity proportional to the distance between the eyes and the hand. Thus, systematic and idiosyncratic signals may coexist within individual neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7951-7956
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 27 2010


  • Gain field
  • Posterior parietal cortex
  • Reference frame transformation


Dive into the research topics of 'Idiosyncratic and systematic aspects of spatial representations in the macaque parietal cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this