I outline a microcircuit theory of somatosensory cortex as a body model serving both for body representation and “body simulation.” A modular model of innervated and non-innervated body parts resides in somatosensory cortical layer 4. This body model is continuously updated and compares to an avatar (an animatable puppet) rather than a mere sensory map. Superficial layers provide context and store sensory memories, whereas layer 5 provides motor output and stores motor memories. I predict that layer-6-to-layer-4 inputs initiate body simulations allowing rehearsal and risk assessment of difficult actions, such as jumps.
Brecht, M. (2017, June 7). The Body Model Theory of Somatosensory Cortex. Neuron. Cell Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2017.05.018