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Peripersonal Space: A Multisensory Interface for Body–Object Interactions.


In: Murray MM, Wallace MT, editors.


The Neural Bases of Multisensory Processes. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2012. Chapter 23.
Frontiers in Neuroscience.


The binding of visual information available outside the body with tactile information arising, by definition, on the body, allows the representation of the space lying in between, which is often the theater of our interactions with objects. The representation of this intermediate space has become known as “peripersonal space” (Rizzolatti et al. 1981b, 1981c). The definition of peripersonal space (PpS hereafter) originates from single-unit electrophysiological studies in macaque monkeys, based on a class of multisensory, predominantly visual–tactile neurons. Over the years, such neurons have been identified in several regions of the monkey brain, including premotor area 6, parietal areas (Broadmann's area 7b and the ventral intraparietal area, VIP), and the putamen (Fogassi et al. 1999; Graziano 2001; Rizzolatti et al. 1997). The most relevant characteristic of these neurons, for present purposes, is that, in addition to responding both to visual and tactile stimulation (referred to here as visuo-tactile), their visually evoked responses are modulated by the distance between the visual object and the tactile receptive field (RF). This allows for the coding of visual information that is dependent, or centered, on the body part that contains the tactile RF.

Copyright © 2012 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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