The order of events, whether two events are seen as simultaneous or successive, sets the stage for the moment-to-moment interpretation of the visual world. Evidence from patients who have lesions to the parietal lobes and transcranial magnetic stimulation studies in normal subjects suggest that the right inferior parietal lobe underlies this analysis of event timing. Judgment of temporal order, simultaneity and high-level motion are all compromised following right parietal lesions and degraded after transcranial magnetic stimulation over the right parietal but not elsewhere. The results suggest that the right parietal lobe serves as part of a when pathway for both visual fields. We propose that the disruption of this mechanism is the underlying cause of a wide range of seemingly unrelated tasks being impaired in right parietal patients.
Figure. The when pathway. The when pathway is represented in the brain. This pathway is lateralized in the right hemisphere. Information from the primary visual cortex (V1) travels along the dorsal pathway (spatial perception, determining where objects are) or the ventral pathway (object recognition, determining what objects are), according to the classical subdivision that has been proposed based on animal models. A third pathway coming from V1 is dedicated to using time information to identify objects (e.g. determining when objects appeared or disappeared). Here, the temporoparietal junction (TPJ; considered the most common substrate of neglect) is identified as a core anatomical locus, within the inferior parietal lobe (IPL); however, the when pathway is likely to include a bigger network of areas, including the right angular gyrus (Ang), the supramarginal gyrus (Smg) and the posterior superior temporal sulcus (included in the superior temporal gyrus, STG). All these areas are often involved in the cortical lesion of right parietal patients. The intraparietal sulcus (IPS) separates the IPL from the superior parietal lobe (not labeled). The middle temporal area MT+ is reported in yellow (also called the motion area, highly specialized in detecting and discriminating moving stimuli).
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The ‘when’ pathway of the right parietal lobe
Battelli et al provide a nice review (PDF here) in the May issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences: