Partially Mixed Selectivity in Human Posterior Parietal Association Cortex

Carey Y. Zhang, Tyson Aflalo, Boris Revechkis, Emily R. Rosario, Debra Ouellette, Nader Pouratian, Richard A. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


To clarify the organization of motor representations in posterior parietal cortex, we test how three motor variables (body side, body part, cognitive strategy) are coded in the human anterior intraparietal cortex. All tested movements were encoded, arguing against strict anatomical segregation of effectors. Single units coded for diverse conjunctions of variables, with different dimensions anatomically overlapping. Consistent with recent studies, neurons encoding body parts exhibited mixed selectivity. This mixed selectivity resulted in largely orthogonal coding of body parts, which “functionally segregate” the effector responses despite the high degree of anatomical overlap. Body side and strategy were not coded in a mixed manner as effector determined their organization. Mixed coding of some variables over others, what we term “partially mixed coding,” argues that the type of functional encoding depends on the compared dimensions. This structure is advantageous for neuroprosthetics, allowing a single array to decode movements of a large extent of the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-708.e4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Mixed selectivity
  • anterior intraparietal cortex
  • brain-machine interfaces
  • functional segregation
  • motor imagery
  • posterior parietal cortex
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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