Studies have shown that in the monkey's associative cerebral cortex, cells undergo sustained activation of discharge while the animal retains information for a subsequent action. Recent work has revealed the presence of such 'memory cells' in the anterior parietal cortex (Brodmann's areas 3a, 3b, 1, and 2)- the early stage of the cortical somatosensory system. Here we inferred that, in a cross-modal visuo-haptic short-term memory task, somatosensory cells would react to visual stimuli associated with tactile features. Single-unit discharge was recorded from the anterior parietal cortex - including areas of hand representation - of monkeys performing a visuo-haptic delayed matching-to-sample task. Units changed firing frequency during the presentation of a visual cue that the animal had to remember for making a correct tactile choice between two objects at the end of a delay (retention period). Some units showed sustained activation during the delay. In some of them that activation differed depending on the cue. These findings suggest that units in somatosensory cortex react to visual stimuli behaviorally associated with tactile information. Further, the results suggest that some of these neurons are involved in short-term active memory and may, therefore, be part of cross-modal memory networks.
- Cross-modal neuronal response
- Short-term memory
- Single unit
- Somatosensory cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas