Abstract

The effects of reversible lesion—by cooling—of dorsolateral prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex were studied in rhesus monkeys performing a cognitive visuomotor integration task. Correct performance required the use of a learned set of cue-response contingencies, some spatial andsome nonspatial; in some cases, the task required the short-term retention, through a delay, of the color of the cue or its implicit response direction. Prefrontal cooling impaired performance of the task regardless of its spatial demands, an effect that increased with delay. Parietal cooling, on the other hand, only impaired performance if the task demanded the processing and retention of spatial information (i.e., if spatial active memory was required). Parietal effects were not related to delay. Both prefrontal and, even more, parietal cooling increased response time in all task contingencies. Thus, the results dissociate the respective contributions of the prefrontal and the posterior parietal cortex to the temporal and spatial aspects of information processing in visuomotor performance. They indicate that posterior parietal areas participate in spatial processing and in active memory of spatial information, whereas prefrontal areas subserve a broader role of visuomotor processing and cross-temporal integration of both spatial and nonspatial information.

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