Cognition in sensorimotor control: Interfacing with the posterior parietal cortex

Srinivas Chivukula, Matiar Jafari, Tyson Aflalo, Nicholas Au Yong, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Millions of people worldwide are afflicted with paralysis from a disruption of neural pathways between the brain and the muscles. Because their cortical architecture is often preserved, these patients are able to plan movements despite an inability to execute them. In such people, brain machine interfaces have great potential to restore lost function through neuroprosthetic devices, circumventing dysfunctional corticospinal circuitry. These devices have typically derived control signals from the motor cortex (M1) which provides information highly correlated with desired movement trajectories. However, sensorimotor control simultaneously engages multiple cognitive processes such as intent, state estimation, decision making, and the integration of multisensory feedback. As such, cortical association regions upstream of M1 such as the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) that are involved in higher order behaviors such as planning and learning, rather than in encoding movement itself, may enable enhanced, cognitive control of neuroprosthetics, termed cognitive neural prosthetics (CNPs). We illustrate in this review, through a small sampling, the cognitive functions encoded in the PPC and discuss their neural representation in the context of their relevance to motor neuroprosthetics. We aim to highlight through examples a role for cortical signals from the PPC in developing CNPs, and to inspire future avenues for exploration in their research and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Coordinate transformations
  • Decision making
  • Motor
  • Neuroprosthetics
  • PPC
  • Peripersonal space
  • Posterior parietal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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