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Intact spatial updating during locomotion after right posterior parietal lesions
One function of the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is to monitor and integrate sensory signals relating to the current pointing direction of the eyes. We investigated the possibility that the human PPC also contributes to spatial updating during larger-scale behaviors. Two groups of patients with brain injuries either including or excluding the right hemisphere PPC and a group of healthy subjects performed a visually-directed walking task, in which the subject views a target and then attempts to walk to it without vision. All groups walked without vision accurately and precisely to remembered targets up to 6 m away; the patient groups also performed similarly to the healthy controls when indicating egocentric distances using non-motoric responses. These results indicate that the right PPC is not critically involved in monitoring and integrating non-visual self-motion signals, at least along linear paths. In addition, visual perception of egocentric distance in multi-cue environments is immune to injury of a variety of brain areas.