Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The exact role of the parietal lobe in spatial cognition is controversial. One influential hypothesis proposes that it subserves spatial perception, whereas other accounts suggest that its primary role is to direct spatial movement. For humans, it has been suggested that these functions may be divided between inferior and superior parietal lobes, respectively. In apparent support of a purely perceptual function for the inferior parietal lobe (IPL), patients with lesions to this structure, particularly in the right hemisphere, exhibit unilateral spatial neglect (deficient awareness for the side of space opposite to that of their lesion). Here we show that patients with right IPL lesions also have a specific difficulty in initiating leftward movements towards visual targets on the left side of space. This motor impairment was not found in neglect patients with frontal lesions, contrary to previous proposals that motor aspects of neglect are particularly associated with anterior damage. Our results suggest that the human IPL operates as a sensorimotor interface, rather than subserving only perceptual functions.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/32413

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature

Publication Date

12/03/1998

Volume

392

Pages

179 - 182

Keywords

Cerebrovascular Disorders, Humans, Motor Skills, Motor Skills Disorders, Parietal Lobe, Reaction Time, Visual Perception