Show Reference: "Neural Cartography: Sensory and Motor Maps in the Superior Colliculus"

Neural Cartography: Sensory and Motor Maps in the Superior Colliculus Brain, Behavior and Evolution, Vol. 31, No. 1. (1988), pp. 49-56 by David L. Sparks
    abstract = {The sudden onset of a novel or behaviorally significant stimulus usually triggers responses that orient the eyes, external ears, head and/or body toward the source of the stimulus. As a consequence, the reception of additional signals originating from the source and the sensory guidance of appropriate limb and body movements are facilitated. Converging lines of evidence, derived from anatomical, electrophysiological and lesion experiments, indicate that the superior colliculus is an important part of the neural substrate responsible for the generation of orienting responses. This paper briefly reviews the functional organization of the mammalian superior colliculus and discusses possible linkages between the sensory and motor maps observed in this structure. The hypothesis is advanced that the sensory maps are organized in motor (not sensory) coordinates and that the maps of sensory space are dynamic, shifting with relative movements of the eyes, head and body.},
    author = {Sparks, David L.},
    issn = {0006-8977},
    journal = {Brain, Behavior and Evolution},
    keywords = {biology, motor, sc, topographic-maps},
    number = {1},
    pages = {49--56},
    pmid = {3334905},
    posted-at = {2013-10-28 10:55:49},
    priority = {2},
    title = {Neural Cartography: Sensory and Motor Maps in the Superior Colliculus},
    url = {},
    volume = {31},
    year = {1988}

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Sensory maps and their registration across modalities has been demonstrated in mice, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, barn owls, and iguanas.

Maps of sensory space in different sensory modalities can, if brought into register, give rise to an amodal representation of space.

If sensory maps of uni-modal space are brought into register, then cues from different modalities can access shared maps of motor space.

The uni-sensory, multi-sensory and motor maps of the superior colliculus are in spatial register.

The mammalian SC is divided into seven layers with alternating fibrous and cellular layers.

The superficial layers include layers I-III, while the deep layers are layers IV-VII.

Some authors distinguish a third, intermediate, set of layers (IV,V).

Neurons in the superficial SC are almost exclusively visual in most species.