Digital video provides technological tools for monitoring hand kinematics during prehension, and for correlating motor behavior with the simultaneously recorded firing patterns of neurons in parietal cortex of monkeys. The constancy of the hand action in the task allowed us to derive population responses of neurons in both S-I and posterior parietal cortex (PPC) from serial single unit recordings. Activity of PPC neurons preceded that in S-I, and was often shape-selective for particular objects, suggesting that they play an important role in motor planning of prehension. Detailed sensory monitoring of hand-object interactions occurred in S-I, where distinct groups of neurons responded to specific behaviors such as grasping, lifting, holding or releasing objects. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.