Sensory-Motor Transformation And Motor Planning In The Primate Frontal Cortex

Eyal Margalit, Moshe Abeles, Hagai Bergman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


To examine the role of the frontal cortex in sensory-motor processing, we trained a Rhesus monkey to perform a behavioral task with alternations between localization (LOC) and non-localization (NL) paradigms. In the LOC block, the monkey had to remember the modality and location of two sequential cues. Two different GO signals instructed the monkey to touch the memorized location of either auditory or visual spatial cues (GO-AUD or GO-VIS, respectively). In the NL paradigm the monkey received the same stimuli, but was instructed to touch a fixed target, disregarding the location and modality of the spatial and GO signals. Reaction time was significantly longer after GO-AUD signals in the LOC mode compared to the reaction time following GO-VIS signals, or in the NL mode. We examined 961 neurons in the frontal cortex and 427 parietal neurons. A group of frontal task-related neurons (72/430; 16.7%) showed evoked activity both after the visual and the GO-AUD stimuli in the LOC mode. The units did not respond to the GO-VIS signal that instructed the monkey to move to the same location, or to the identical stimuli in the NL mode. No such neurons were found in the sampled areas of the parietal cortex. Our findings suggest that the monkey initially planned a default response towards the location of the visual stimulus and immediately updated his motor plans when instructed to touch the memorized location of the auditory stimulus. We suggest that frontal activity may also be related to such modifications of sensory-motor associations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)79-104
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Rhesus monkey
  • delayed-release
  • frontal cortex
  • movement planning
  • sensory-motor association
  • single unit activity


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