The function of the parietal lobe has been a topic of great interest, its study stimulated by the profound and intriguing perceptual and motor deficits resulting from parietal lobe lesions in humans. The specific role of the parietal cortex has always been a matter of great controversy, with different laboratories emphasizing seemingly exclusive interpretations of parietal lobe functions arranged around a line separating sensory input and motor output, both possibly modulated by attention. Recent work based on awake, behaving monkeys and the study of patients with parietal lobe lesions have unmasked the sensory versus motor dichotomy of parietal lobe function as being both arbitrary and simplistic. The present book conveys the current view of parietal lobe functions, centering around the idea that parietal lobe areas act as true sensorimotor interfaces contributing to the sensory guidance of movement and to the perception of space by offering non-sensory, mental representations of space suited to the needs of the specific task. It is largely based on a conference on parietal lobe functions held in Tiibingen, Germany, in the early summer of 1995. The major goal of this meeting was to further the exchange between neurophysiologists and neuropsychologists interested in this part of the brain. This book aims to cast the productive discussions of this conference into a state-of-the-art overview of present thinking on the role of the parietal lobes and their specific contributions to eye movements, reaching and grasping, attention, perception, and the representation of space.
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