Organization and evolution of parieto-frontal processing streams in macaque monkeys and humans

The functional organization of the parieto-frontal system is crucial for understanding cognitive-motor behavior and provides the basis for interpreting the consequences of parietal lesions in humans from a neurobiological perspective. The parieto-frontal connectivity defines some main information streams that, rather than being devoted to restricted functions, underlie a rich behavioral repertoire. Surprisingly, from macaque to humans, evolution has added only a few, new functional streams, increasing however their complexity and encoding power. In fact, the characterization of the conduction times of parietal and frontal areas to different target structures has recently opened a new window on cortical dynamics, suggesting that evolution has amplified the probability of dynamic interactions between the nodes of the network, thanks to communication patterns based on temporally-dispersed conduction delays. This might allow the representation of sensory-motor signals within multiple neural assemblies and reference frames, as to optimize sensory-motor remapping within an action space characterized by different and more complex demands across evolution. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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