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Cortex. 2016 Jan;74:20-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.10.006. Epub 2015 Oct 26.

EEG μ rhythm in virtual reality reveals that motor coding of visual objects in peripersonal space is task dependent.

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Univ. Lille, CNRS, CHU Lille, UMR 9193 - SCALab - Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, Lille, France.
Univ. Lille, CNRS, CHU Lille, UMR 9193 - SCALab - Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, Lille, France. Electronic address:


Previous fMRI studies have shown that the visual perception of manipulable objects spontaneously involves the sensorimotor system, especially when the objects are located in peripersonal space. However, it has also been suggested that the motor coding of manipulable objects perceived in peripersonal space depends on an anticipation to interact with them. The present study aims at clarifying this issue by analyzing healthy adults' EEG activity on the centro-parietal region while perceptually judging intrinsic (prototypical or distorted shape) or extrinsic (reachable or not reachable location) properties of visual objects. In both the object identification and reachability judgment tasks, time-frequency decomposition of EEG signals was performed across the first 1000 ms following object presentation for trials on which no post-stimulus response was required (90% of the trials). Event-Related-(De)Synchronization (ERD/S) of μ rhythm was computed using the 150 ms pre-stimulus period as baseline. In the reachability judgment task, EEG analysis showed a desynchronization of μ rhythm starting 300 ms after object presentation, but only when the objects were presented with a prototypical shape in peripersonal space. For those objects, desynchronization of μ rhythm diminished progressively from peripersonal to extrapersonal space. By contrast, no such gradient was observed in the object identification task. On the whole, these data indicate that motor coding of visual objects expressed in the μ rhythm depends on an object's shape and location in space, but also on the goal of the perceptual task.


EEG; Peripersonal space; Reachability; Vision; μ rhythm

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