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Peripersonal space representation develops independently from visual experience

Ricciardi, Emiliano and Menicagli, Dario and Leo, Andrea and Costantini, Marcello and Pietrini, Pietro and Sinigaglia, Corrado Peripersonal space representation develops independently from visual experience. Scientific Reports, 7 (1). p. 17673. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017)

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Our daily-life actions are typically driven by vision. When acting upon an object, we need to represent its visual features (e.g. shape, orientation, etc.) and to map them into our own peripersonal space. But what happens with people who have never had any visual experience? How can they map object features into their own peripersonal space? Do they do it differently from sighted agents? To tackle these questions, we carried out a series of behavioral experiments in sighted and congenitally blind subjects. We took advantage of a spatial alignment effect paradigm, which typically refers to a decrease of reaction times when subjects perform an action (e.g., a reach-to-grasp pantomime) congruent with that afforded by a presented object. To systematically examine peripersonal space mapping, we presented visual or auditory affording objects both within and outside subjects’ reach. The results showed that sighted and congenitally blind subjects did not differ in mapping objects into their own peripersonal space. Strikingly, this mapping occurred also when objects were presented outside subjects’ reach, but within the peripersonal space of another agent. This suggests that (the lack of) visual experience does not significantly affect the development of both one’s own and others’ peripersonal space representation.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1038/s41598-017-17896-9
Funders: Italian Ministero dell’Istruzione PRIN2015-2015WXAXJF
Uncontrolled Keywords: Perception; sensory processing
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2017 10:29
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2017 10:29
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/3845

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