Journal of Visualized Experiments
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On complex, naturalistic terrain, sensory information about an environmental obstacle can be used to rapidly adjust locomotor movements for avoidance. For example, in the cat, visual information about an impending obstacle can modulate stepping for avoidance. Locomotor adaptation can also occur independent of vision, as sudden tactile inputs to the leg by an expected obstacle can modify the stepping of all four legs for avoidance. Such complex locomotor coordination involves supraspinal structures, such as the parietal cortex. This protocol describes the use of reversible, cooling-induced cortical deactivation to assess parietal cortex contributions to memory-guided obstacle locomotion in the cat. Small cooling loops, known as cryoloops, are specially shaped to deactivate discrete regions of interest to assess their contributions to an overt behavior. Such methods have been used to elucidate the role of parietal area 5 in memory-guided obstacle avoidance in the cat.