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While the concept of artificial intelligence has received a great deal of attention in the popular press, the actual determination of the neural basis of intelligence and behavior has proven to be a very difficult problem for neuroscientists. Our behaviors are dictated by our intentions, but we have only recently begun to understand how the brain forms intentions to act. The posterior parietal cortex is situated between the sensory and the movement regions of the cerebral cortex and serves as a bridge from sensation to action. We have found that an anatomical map of intentions exists within this area, with one part devoted to planning eye movements and another part to planning arm movements. The action plans in the arm movement area exist in a cognitive form, specifying the goal of the intended movement rather than particular signals to various muscle groups. Current studies involve examining decision making, stages in motor planning, coordinate transformations for sensory guided movements, and neural prosthetics using posterior parietal cortex neural activity.


See our TEDx presentation here: Human Prosthetics for Paralysis: Richard Andersen at TEDxCaltech