Peripersonal Space UP137

Schematic drawing illustrating the dependency of the extent of peripersonal and extrapersonal space on body space in health (A,B), disease (C,D), and during a body illusion (E). (A) The inner cylinder represents peripersonal space, while the external cylinder symbolically represents extrapersonal space. The inner arrows symbolize the dependency of the extent or size of peripersonal space (i.e., the internal cylinder) on the state of body (space), while outer arrows pointing from the inner to the outer cylinder symbolize the dependency of the extent or size of extrapersonal space on the state/size of peripersonal space. Distorted space perception is illustrated for healthy right-handers (B), individuals affected by hemispatial neglect (C), individuals effected by eating disorders on the example of anorexia nervosa (D), and individuals experiencing a small body illusion (e.g., van der Hoort et al., 2011; Banakou et al., 2013) (E).

Research in neuroscience reveals that the brain constructs multiple representation of space. The peripersonal space (PPS) representation, is the region of space immediately surrounding our bodies and in which objects can be grasped and manipulated. We review convergent results from several generations of studies, including neurophysiological studies in animals, neuropsychological investigations in monkeys and brain-damaged patients with spatial cognition disorders, as well as recent neuroimaging experiments in neurologically normal individuals. Collectively, these studies show that the primate brain constructs multiple, rapidly modifiable representations of space, centered on different body parts (i.e., hand-centered, head-centered, and trunk-centered), which arise through extensive multisensory interactions within a set of interconnected parietal and frontal regions. PPS representations are pivotal in the sensory guidance of motor behavior, allowing us to interact with objects and, as demonstrated by recent studies, with other people in the space around us.