Jun Tanji

Department of Physiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan

The performance of motor selection is based on a variety of information given by sensory, motivational, or internalized signals. I intend to show how the information from different sources is processed in different areas in the cerebral cortex of subhuman primates to select forthcoming action. First, I will deal with the processing of visual signals in the dorsal premotor cortex for motor selection.
Before initiating actions, we need to specify both the motor target and the body part(s) to use. Our new study suggests that the dorsal premotor cortex is the site where the two sets of information (extrapersonal and intrapersonal) are integrated while planning an action. Second, I will present evidence that neurons in the rostral cingulate cortex play a crucial role in selecting different movements based on the judgement of reward. Finally, I will introduce a novel aspect of information processing in the superior parietal cortex (area 5). We found that cellular activity in the superior parietal lobule reflected the number of self-movement executions, when the number of executions was the sole source of information for the selection of action.


1. Shima K, Tanji J.
Role for cingulate motor area cells in voluntary movement selection based on reward. Science. 282:1335-8, 1998.

2. Hoshi, E. and Tanji, J.
Integration of target and body-part information in the premotor cortex when planning aciton. Nature 408: 2000.