Following gaze is a crucial skill, in primates, for understanding where and at what others are looking, and often requires head rotation. The neural basis underlying head rotation are deemed to overlap with the parieto-frontal attention/gaze-shift network. Here, we show that a set of neurons in monkey's Brodmann area 9/46dr (BA 9/46dr), which is involved in orienting processes and joint attention, becomes active during self head rotation and that the activity of these neurons cannot be accounted for by saccade-related activity (head-rotation neurons). Another set of BA 9/46dr neurons encodes head rotation performed by an observed agent facing the monkey (visually triggered neurons). Among these latter neurons, almost half exhibit the intriguing property of encoding both execution and observation of head rotation (mirror-like neurons). Finally, by means of neuronal tracing techniques, we showed that BA 9/46dr takes part into two distinct networks: a dorso/mesial network, playing a role in spatial head/gaze orientation, and a ventrolateral network, likely involved in processing social stimuli and mirroring others' head. The overall results of this study provide a new, comprehensive picture of the role of BA 9/46dr in encoding self and others' head rotation, likely playing a role in head-following behaviors.

Neuronal Encoding of Self and Others' Head Rotation in the Macaque Dorsal Prefrontal Cortex

Perciavalle, V;
2017

Abstract

Following gaze is a crucial skill, in primates, for understanding where and at what others are looking, and often requires head rotation. The neural basis underlying head rotation are deemed to overlap with the parieto-frontal attention/gaze-shift network. Here, we show that a set of neurons in monkey's Brodmann area 9/46dr (BA 9/46dr), which is involved in orienting processes and joint attention, becomes active during self head rotation and that the activity of these neurons cannot be accounted for by saccade-related activity (head-rotation neurons). Another set of BA 9/46dr neurons encodes head rotation performed by an observed agent facing the monkey (visually triggered neurons). Among these latter neurons, almost half exhibit the intriguing property of encoding both execution and observation of head rotation (mirror-like neurons). Finally, by means of neuronal tracing techniques, we showed that BA 9/46dr takes part into two distinct networks: a dorso/mesial network, playing a role in spatial head/gaze orientation, and a ventrolateral network, likely involved in processing social stimuli and mirroring others' head. The overall results of this study provide a new, comprehensive picture of the role of BA 9/46dr in encoding self and others' head rotation, likely playing a role in head-following behaviors.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/143550
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