The Inferior Parietal Lobule: Where Action Becomes Perception

  1. Derek J. Chadwick,
  2. Mathew Diamond Organizer and
  3. Jamie Goode
  1. Giacomo Rizzolatti1,
  2. Pier Francesco Ferrari1,
  3. Stefano Rozzi1 and
  4. Leonardo Fogassi1,2

Published Online: 7 OCT 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470034989.ch11

Percept, Decision, Action: Bridging the Gaps: Novartis Foundation Symposium 270

Percept, Decision, Action: Bridging the Gaps: Novartis Foundation Symposium 270

How to Cite

Rizzolatti, G., Ferrari, P. F., Rozzi, S. and Fogassi, L. (2006) The Inferior Parietal Lobule: Where Action Becomes Perception, in Percept, Decision, Action: Bridging the Gaps: Novartis Foundation Symposium 270 (eds D. J. Chadwick, M. Diamond and J. Goode), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470034989.ch11

Author Information

  1. 1

    Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Sezione di Fisiologia, Università di Parma, Via Volturno, 39E, Parma, I-43100, Italy

  2. 2

    Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Parma, B.go Carissimi 10, 43100 Parma, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 OCT 2008
  2. Published Print: 13 JAN 2006

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470012338

Online ISBN: 9780470034989

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Keywords:

  • inferior parietal lobule (IPL);
  • space perception role;
  • IPL visual responses;
  • action-constrained motor neurons;
  • action control to intention understanding

Summary

The view defended in this article is that action and perception share the same neural substrate. To substantiate this view, the anatomical and functional organization of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) is reviewed. In particular, it will be shown that many IPL neurons discharge selectively when the monkey executes a given motor act (e.g. grasping). Most interestingly, most of them fire only if the coded motor act is followed by a subsequent specific motor act (e.g. placing). Some of these action-constrained motor neurons have mirror properties and selectively discharge during the observation of motor acts when these are embedded in a given action (e.g. grasping for eating, but not grasping for placing). Thus, the activation of these IPL neurons allows the observer not only to recognize the observed motor act, but also to predict what will be the next motor act of the action, that is to understand the intentions of the action's agent. The finding that the same neurons that are active during the execution of specific motor acts also mediate the understanding of the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of others' actions provides strong evidence for a common neural substrate for action and perception.