Multimodal Convergence within the Intraparietal Sulcus of the Macaque Monkey
The parietal cortex is highly multimodal and plays a key role in the processing of objects and actions in space, both in human and nonhuman primates. Despite the accumulated knowledge in both species, we lack the following: (1) a general description of the multisensory convergence in this cortical region to situate sparser lesion and electrophysiological recording studies; and (2) a way to compare and extrapolate monkey data to human results. Here, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the monkey to provide a bridge between human and monkey studies. We focus on the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and specifically probe its involvement in the processing of visual, tactile, and auditory moving stimuli around and toward the face. We describe three major findings: (1) the visual and tactile modalities are strongly represented and activate mostly nonoverlapping sectors within the IPS. The visual domain occupies its posterior two-thirds and the tactile modality its anterior one-third. The auditory modality is much less represented, mostly on the medial IPS bank. (2) Processing of the movement component of sensory stimuli is specific to the fundus of the IPS and coincides with the anatomical definition of monkey ventral intraparietal area (VIP). (3) A cortical sector within VIP processes movement around and toward the face independently of the sensory modality. This amodal representation of movement may be a key component in the construction of peripersonal space. Overall, our observations highlight strong homologies between macaque and human VIP organization.