Cognition allows for the use of different rule-based sensorimotor strategies, but the neural underpinnings of such strategies are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to compare neural activity in the superior parietal lobule during a standard (direct interaction) reaching task, with two nonstandard (gaze and reach spatially incongruent) reaching tasks requiring the integration of rule-based information. Specifically, these nonstandard tasks involved dissociating the planes of reach and vision or rotating visual feedback by 180°. Single unit activity, gaze, and reach trajectories were recorded from two female Macaca mulattas. In all three conditions, we observed a temporal discharge pattern at the population level reflecting early reach planning and on-line reach monitoring. In the plane-dissociated task, we found a significant overall attenuation in the discharge rate of cells from deep recording sites, relative to standard reaching. We also found that cells modulated by reach direction tended to be significantly tuned either during the standard or the plane-dissociated task but rarely during both. In the standard versus feedback reversal comparison, we observed some cells that shifted their preferred direction by 180° between conditions, reflecting maintenance of directional tuning with respect to the reach goal. Our findings suggest that the superior parietal lobule plays an important role in processing information about the nonstandard nature of a task, which, through reciprocal connections with precentral motor areas, contributes to the accurate transformation of incongruent sensory inputs into an appropriate motor output. Such processing is crucial for the integration of rule-based information into a motor act.

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