Preservation of partially mixed selectivity in human posterior parietal cortex across changes in task context

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Recent studies in posterior parietal cortex (PPC) have found multiple effectors and cognitive strategies repre-sented within a shared neural substrate in a structure termed “partially mixed selectivity” (Zhang et al., 2017). In this study, we examine whether the structure of these representations is preserved across changes in task context and is thus a robust and generalizable property of the neural population. Specifically, we test whether the structure is conserved from an open-loop motor imagery task (training) to a closed-loop cortical control task (online), a change that has led to substantial changes in neural behavior in prior studies in motor cortex. Recording from a 4 ☓ 4 mm electrode array implanted in PPC of a human tetraplegic patient participating in a brain–machine interface (BMI) clinical trial, we studied the representations of imagined/attempted movements of the left/right hand and compare their individual BMI control performance using a one-dimensional cursor control task. We found that the structure of the representations is largely maintained between training and online control. Our results demonstrate for the first time that the structure observed in the context of an open-loop motor imagery task is maintained and accessible in the context of closed-loop BMI control. These results indicate that it is possible to decode the mixed variables found from a small patch of cortex in PPC and use them individually for BMI control. Furthermore, they show that the structure of the mixed representations is maintained and robust across changes in task context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0222-19.2019
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bimanual
  • Context
  • Imagery
  • Movement
  • Neural prosthetic
  • Parietal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Preservation of partially mixed selectivity in human posterior parietal cortex across changes in task context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this