In the human posterior parietal cortex (PPC), single units encode high-dimensional information with partially mixed representations that enable small populations of neurons to encode many variables relevant to movement planning, execution, cognition, and perception. Here, we test whether a PPC neuronal population previously demonstrated to encode visual and motor information is similarly engaged in the somatosensory domain. We recorded neurons within the PPC of a human clinical trial participant during actual touch presentation and during a tactile imagery task. Neurons encoded actual touch at short latency with bilateral receptive fields, organized by body part, and covered all tested regions. The tactile imagery task evoked body part-specific responses that shared a neural substrate with actual touch. Our results are the first neuron-level evidence of touch encoding in human PPC and its cognitive engagement during a tactile imagery task, which may reflect semantic processing, attention, sensory anticipation, or imagined touch.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)