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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e59460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059460. Epub 2013 Mar 15.

The effects of visual control and distance in modulating peripersonal spatial representation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Pisa Medical School, Pisa, Italy.


In the presence of vision, finalized motor acts can trigger spatial remapping, i.e., reference frames transformations to allow for a better interaction with targets. However, it is yet unclear how the peripersonal space is encoded and remapped depending on the availability of visual feedback and on the target position within the individual's reachable space, and which cerebral areas subserve such processes. Here, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine neural activity while healthy young participants performed reach-to-grasp movements with and without visual feedback and at different distances of the target from the effector (near to the hand-about 15 cm from the starting position-vs. far from the hand-about 30 cm from the starting position). Brain response in the superior parietal lobule bilaterally, in the right dorsal premotor cortex, and in the anterior part of the right inferior parietal lobule was significantly greater during visually-guided grasping of targets located at the far distance compared to grasping of targets located near to the hand. In the absence of visual feedback, the inferior parietal lobule exhibited a greater activity during grasping of targets at the near compared to the far distance. Results suggest that in the presence of visual feedback, a visuo-motor circuit integrates visuo-motor information when targets are located farther away. Conversely in the absence of visual feedback, encoding of space may demand multisensory remapping processes, even in the case of more proximal targets.

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