Posterior parietal cortex

Posterior parietal cortex

The posterior parietal cortex (the portion of parietal neocortex posterior to the primary somatosensory cortex) plays an important role in planned movements, spatial reasoning, and attention.

Damage to the posterior parietal cortex can produce a variety of sensorimotor deficits, including deficits in the perception and memory of spatial relationships, inaccurate reaching and grasping, in the control of eye movement, and inattention. The two most striking consequences of PPC damage are apraxia and hemispatial neglect.

Pereira et al. from Geneva showed that perceptual consciousness and monitoring involve evidence accumulation. They performed single-unit recording in a participant with a microelectrode in the posterior parietal cortex, while they detected vibrotactile stimuli around the detection threshold and provided confidence estimates. They find that detected stimuli elicited neuronal responses resembling evidence accumulation during decision-making, irrespective of motor confounds or task demands. They generalized these findings in healthy volunteers using electroencephalography. Behavioral and neural responses are reproduced with a computational model considering a stimulus as detected if accumulated evidence reaches a bound, and confidence as the distance between maximal evidence and that bound. They concluded that gradual changes in neuronal dynamics during evidence accumulation relates to perceptual consciousness and perceptual monitoring in humans 1)

Spatial remapping, the process of updating information across eye movements, is an important mechanism for trans-saccadic perception. The right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is a region that has been associated most strongly with spatial remapping. The aim of a project of Ten Brink et al. was to investigate the effect of damage to the right PPC on direction specific transsaccadic memory. They compared trans-saccadic memory performance for central items that had to be remembered while making a left- versus rightward eye movement, or for items that were remapped within the left versus right visual field.

They included 9 stroke patients with unilateral right PPC lesions and 31 healthy control subjects. Participants memorized the location of a briefly presented item, had to make one saccade (either towards the left or right, or upward or downward), and subsequently had to decide in what direction the probe had shifted. We used a staircase to adjust task difficulty (i.e., the distance between the memory item and probe). Bayesian repeated measures ANOVAs were used to compare left versus right eye movements and items in the left versus right visual field.

In both conditions, patients with right PPC damage showed worse trans-saccadic memory performance compared to healthy control subjects (for the condition with left- and rightward gaze shifts, BF10 = 3.79; and when items were presented left or right, BF10 = 6.77), regardless of the direction of the gaze or the initial location of the memory item. At the individual level, none of the patients showed a direction specific deficit after leftward versus rightward saccades, whereas two patients showed worse performance for items in the left versus right visual field.

Damage in the right PPC did not lead to gaze direction specific impairments in trans-saccadic memory, but instead caused more general spatial memory impairments 2).


Pereira M, Megevand P, Tan MX, Chang W, Wang S, Rezai A, Seeck M, Corniola M, Momjian S, Bernasconi F, Blanke O, Faivre N. Evidence accumulation relates to perceptual consciousness and monitoring. Nat Commun. 2021 May 31;12(1):3261. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23540-y. PMID: 34059682.

Ten Brink AF, Fabius JH, Weaver NA, Nijboer TCW, Van der Stigchel S. Trans-saccadic memory after right parietal brain damage. Cortex. 2019 Jun 28;120:284-297. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.06.006. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31376588.

Superior parietal lobule

Superior parietal lobule

The superior parietal lobule is posterior to the postcentral gyrus and postcentral sulcus.

Area of the cortex involved in peripheral processes specific to handwriting.

Damage to the left superior parietal lobule, should generate distorted graphemes but not misspelled words, while damage to other areas of the cortex like the frontal lobe should produce alterations in written and oral spelling without distorted graphemes.

Magrassi et al. describe the clinical and neuropsychological features of a patient with combined agraphia for handwriting and typewriting bearing a small glioblastoma in the left parietal lobe. His agraphia resolved after antiedema therapy and they tested by bipolar cortical stimulation his handwriting abilities during an awake neurosurgical procedure.

They could reversibly re-induce the same defects of writing by stimulating during surgery a limited area of the superior parietal gyrus in the same patient and in an independent patient that was never agraphic before the operation. In those patients stimulation caused spelling errors, poorly formed letters and in some cases a complete cessation of writing with minimal or no effects on oral spelling.

The results suggest that stimulating a specific area in the superior parietal gyrus can generate different patterns of agraphia. Moreover, the findings also suggest that some of the central processes specific for typing and handwriting converge with motor processes at least in the limited portion of the superior parietal gyrus were thw patient was mapped 1).

The superior parietal lobule was inconstantly involved in calculation processing (40% of cases in the left and 75% in the right side) 2).




Magrassi L, Bongetta D, Bianchini S, Berardesca M, Arienta C. Central and peripheral components of writing critically depend on a defined area of the dominant superior parietal gyrus. Brain Res. 2010 Jul 30;1346:145-54. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.05.046. Epub 2010 May 24. PubMed PMID: 20580692.

Della Puppa A, De Pellegrin S, Rossetto M, Rustemi O, Saladini M, Munari M, Scienza R. Intraoperative functional mapping of calculation in parietal surgery. New insights and clinical implications. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2015 Jun;157(6):971-7; discussion 977. doi: 10.1007/s00701-015-2426-4. Epub 2015 Apr 30. PubMed PMID: 25921855.
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