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Neural coding of object shape in the macaque premotor cortex
The visual system consists of a ventral visual stream, specialized for object recognition and categorization, and a dorsal visual stream, processing visual information for the analysis of space and the planning of actions. The shape of objects is encoded in both the ventral (in the inferior temporal cortex, for recognition) and the dorsal (in the Anterior Intraparietal area AIP, for grasping) visual stream. Most AIP neurons encode the contour of the shape, with very little influence of surface information. The macaque area AIP projects to the premotor cortex, where object information is coupled to motor commands that control the hand. Here we want to investigate how premotor neurons encode object shape. We will record during the visual presentation of the same stimuli as previously used in AIP (images of objects, outlines and fragments of outlines), while monkeys are either passively fixating a spot on a display or grasping real-world objects under visual guidance. In addition, we will use the most effective stimuli to map the visual receptive field of premotor neurons. The data of AIP and premotor cortex will be combined in a biologically-plausible computational model of the representation of object shape in the dorsal visual stream.