The Body in Neurosciences: Representation, Perception, and Space Processing

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Developmental Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 January 2021) | Viewed by 21962

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro, Viale Europa - Loc. Germaneto, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy
Interests: body representation; mental imagery; human navigation; executive functions; prospective memory; phenylketonuria; individual differences; cognitive neuropsychology

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, via dei Marsi, 78, 00185, Rome, Italy
Interests: mental representation of the space; body representation; cognitive neuroscience; mental imagery; spatial navigation; topographical disorientation; memory; neuroaesthetic

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A growing corpus of studies within the cognitive and social neurosciences has advanced our understanding of body processing in terms of multisensorial perception, interoception, and mental representation, as well as its relation with the peripersonal and interpersonal spaces. These advances have provided us with cognitive and neural frameworks that, in turn, have proved to be valuable in elucidating body representation disorders and alterations. Notwithstanding, a convergent view of body processing and its development, which integrates the representational and perceptual levels and interaction with the surrounding space, is still missing.

This Special Issue encourages submissions that can provide new insights into the general mechanisms and neural bases underlying body processing and the relation with different kinds of space. This includes contributions using behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological approaches and systematic reviews.

We also encourage articles that can inform our understanding of the consequences of individual variation in body perception and representation. This encompasses contributions on individual differences and changes across the lifespan in healthy individuals, but also contributions on body processing alterations in patient samples, including both group studies and case reports. Articles on new diagnostic instruments and treatments are also welcome.

Dr. Liana Palermo
Dr. Maddalena Boccia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Body representation
  • Body image
  • Body awareness
  • Interoception
  • Peripersonal space
  • Interpersonal space
  • Body–space interaction
  • Brain disorders
  • Limb amputation
  • Individual differences

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Other

5 pages, 221 KiB  
Editorial
The Body in Neurosciences: Representation, Perception and Space Processing
by Liana Palermo and Maddalena Boccia
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1708; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13121708 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 953
Abstract
The Special Issue “The Body in Neurosciences: Representation, Perception and Space Processing” deals with the understanding of body processing in terms of the multisensorial perception of bodily related information, interoception, and mental representation, as well as its relationship with the peripersonal, interpersonal, and [...] Read more.
The Special Issue “The Body in Neurosciences: Representation, Perception and Space Processing” deals with the understanding of body processing in terms of the multisensorial perception of bodily related information, interoception, and mental representation, as well as its relationship with the peripersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal spaces, integrating findings from normal and pathological functioning [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Other

15 pages, 898 KiB  
Article
The Body across the Lifespan: On the Relation between Interoceptive Sensibility and High-Order Body Representations
by Simona Raimo, Antonella Di Vita, Maddalena Boccia, Teresa Iona, Maria Cropano, Mariachiara Gaita, Cecilia Guariglia, Dario Grossi and Liana Palermo
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(4), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11040493 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2519
Abstract
Background: Interoceptive information plays a pivotal role in building higher-order cognitive body representations (BR) that neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence classifies as action-oriented (i.e., body schema) or non-action-oriented (i.e., visuo-spatial body map). This study aimed to explore the development of BR, considering the association [...] Read more.
Background: Interoceptive information plays a pivotal role in building higher-order cognitive body representations (BR) that neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence classifies as action-oriented (i.e., body schema) or non-action-oriented (i.e., visuo-spatial body map). This study aimed to explore the development of BR, considering the association with the interoceptive sensibility throughout the lifespan. Methods: Two hundred thirty-nine healthy participants divided into five age groups (7 to 8 years; 9 to 10 years; 18 to 40 years; 41 to 60 years; over 60 years) completed a self-report measure of interoceptive sensibility (the Self-Awareness Questionnaire; SAQ) and were given tasks assessing the two BR (action-oriented: hand laterality task; non-action-oriented: frontal body evocation task). Results: Both children (7–8 and 9–10 years) and older adults (over 60 years) performed worse than young (18–40 years) and middle-aged adults (41–60 years) in action- and non-action-oriented BR tasks. Moderation analyses showed that the SAQ score significantly moderated the relationship between age and action-oriented BR. Conclusions: The current results are consistent with inverted U-shaped developmental curves for action- and non-action-oriented BR. As an innovative aspect, the ability to mentally represent one’s own body parts in diverse states could be negatively affected by higher interoceptive sensibility levels in childhood and late adulthood. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 9418 KiB  
Article
Effects of Increasing Stimulated Area in Spatiotemporally Congruent Unisensory and Multisensory Conditions
by Chiara Martolini, Giulia Cappagli, Sabrina Signorini and Monica Gori
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(3), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030343 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2284
Abstract
Research has shown that the ability to integrate complementary sensory inputs into a unique and coherent percept based on spatiotemporal coincidence can improve perceptual precision, namely multisensory integration. Despite the extensive research on multisensory integration, very little is known about the principal mechanisms [...] Read more.
Research has shown that the ability to integrate complementary sensory inputs into a unique and coherent percept based on spatiotemporal coincidence can improve perceptual precision, namely multisensory integration. Despite the extensive research on multisensory integration, very little is known about the principal mechanisms responsible for the spatial interaction of multiple sensory stimuli. Furthermore, it is not clear whether the size of spatialized stimulation can affect unisensory and multisensory perception. The present study aims to unravel whether the stimulated area’s increase has a detrimental or beneficial effect on sensory threshold. Sixteen typical adults were asked to discriminate unimodal (visual, auditory, tactile), bimodal (audio-visual, audio-tactile, visuo-tactile) and trimodal (audio-visual-tactile) stimulation produced by one, two, three or four devices positioned on the forearm. Results related to unisensory conditions indicate that the increase of the stimulated area has a detrimental effect on auditory and tactile accuracy and visual reaction times, suggesting that the size of stimulated areas affects these perceptual stimulations. Concerning multisensory stimulation, our findings indicate that integrating auditory and tactile information improves sensory precision only when the stimulation area is augmented to four devices, suggesting that multisensory interaction is occurring for expanded spatial areas. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 933 KiB  
Article
Is Right Angular Gyrus Involved in the Metric Component of the Mental Body Representation in Touch and Vision? A tDCS Study
by Grazia Fernanda Spitoni, Giorgio Pireddu, Valerio Zanellati, Beatrice Dionisi, Gaspare Galati and Luigi Pizzamiglio
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(3), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030284 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1546
Abstract
Several studies have found in the sense of touch a good sensory modality by which to study body representation. Here, we address the “metric component of body representation”, a specific function developed to process the discrimination of tactile distances on the body. The [...] Read more.
Several studies have found in the sense of touch a good sensory modality by which to study body representation. Here, we address the “metric component of body representation”, a specific function developed to process the discrimination of tactile distances on the body. The literature suggests the involvement of the right angular gyrus (rAG) in processing the tactile metricity on the body. The question of this study is the following: is the rAG also responsible for the visual metric component of body representation? We used tDCS (anodal and sham) in 20 subjects who were administered an on-body distance discrimination task with both tactile and visual stimuli. They were also asked to perform the same task in a near-body condition. The results allow us to confirm the role of rAG in the estimation of tactile distances. Further, we also showed that rAG might be involved in the discrimination of distances on the body not only in tactile but also in visual modality. Finally, based on the significant effects of anodal stimulation even in a near-body visual discrimination task, we proposed a higher-order function of the AG in terms of a supramodal comparator of quantities. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1469 KiB  
Article
Bliss in and Out of the Body: The (Extra)Corporeal Space Is Impervious to Social Pleasant Touch
by Chiara Spaccasassi, Ivana Frigione and Angelo Maravita
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020225 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
Slow, gentle stimulation of hairy skin is generally accompanied by hedonic sensations. This phenomenon, also known as (positive) affective touch, is likely to be the basis of affiliative interactions with conspecifics by promoting inter-individual bindings. Previous studies on healthy humans have demonstrated that [...] Read more.
Slow, gentle stimulation of hairy skin is generally accompanied by hedonic sensations. This phenomenon, also known as (positive) affective touch, is likely to be the basis of affiliative interactions with conspecifics by promoting inter-individual bindings. Previous studies on healthy humans have demonstrated that affective touch can remarkably impact behavior. For instance, by administering the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) paradigm, the embodiment of a fake hand enhances after a slow, affective touch compared to a fast, neutral touch. However, results coming from this area are not univocal. In addition, there are no clues in the existing literature on the relationship between affective touch and the space around our body. To overcome these lacks, we carried out two separate experiments where participants underwent a RHI paradigm (Experiment 1) and a Visuo-Tactile Interaction task (Experiment 2), designed to tap into body representation and peripersonal space processing, respectively. In both experiments, an affective touch (CT-optimal, 3 cm/s) and neutral touch (CT-suboptimal, 18 cm/s) were delivered by the experimenter on the dorsal side of participants’ hand through a “skin to skin” contact. In Experiment 1, we did not find any modulation of body representation—not at behavioral nor at a physiological level—by affective touch. In Experiment 2, no visuo-tactile spatial modulation emerged depending upon the pleasantness of the touch received. These null findings are interpreted in the light of the current scientific context where the real nature of affective touch is often misguided, and they offer the possibility to pave the way for understanding the real effects of affective touch on body/space representation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

18 pages, 3564 KiB  
Article
Alignment Effects in Spatial Perspective Taking from an External Vantage Point
by Adamantini Hatzipanayioti and Marios N. Avraamides
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020204 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
In three experiments, we examined, using a perceptual task, the difficulties of spatial perspective taking. Participants imagined adopting perspectives around a table and pointed from them towards the positions of a target. Depending on the condition, the scene was presented on a virtual [...] Read more.
In three experiments, we examined, using a perceptual task, the difficulties of spatial perspective taking. Participants imagined adopting perspectives around a table and pointed from them towards the positions of a target. Depending on the condition, the scene was presented on a virtual screen in Virtual Reality or projected on an actual screen in the real world (Experiment 1), or viewed as immediate in Virtual Reality (Experiment 2). Furthermore, participants pointed with their arm (Experiments 1 and 2) vs. a joystick (Experiment 3). Results showed a greater alignment effect (i.e., a larger difference in performance between trials with imagined perspectives that were aligned vs. misaligned with the orientation of the participant) when executing the task in a virtual rather than in the real environment, suggesting that visual access to body information and room geometry, which is typically lacking in Virtual Reality, influences perspective taking performance. The alignment effect was equal across the Virtual Reality conditions of Experiment 1 and Experiment 2, suggesting that being an internal (compared to an external) observer to the scene induces no additional difficulties for perspective taking. Equal alignment effects were also found when pointing with the arm vs. a joystick, indicating that a body-dependent response mode such as pointing with the arm creates no further difficulties for reasoning from imagined perspectives. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 2285 KiB  
Article
Haptic Perception in Extreme Obesity: qEEG Study Focused on Predictive Coding and Body Schema
by Giuditta Gambino, Giuseppe Giglia, Girolamo Schiera, Danila Di Majo, Maria Stella Epifanio, Sabina La Grutta, Rosa Lo Baido, Giuseppe Ferraro and Pierangelo Sardo
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(12), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10120908 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1952
Abstract
Haptic perception (HP) is a perceptual modality requiring manual exploration to elaborate the physical characteristics of external stimuli through multisensory integrative cortical pathways. Cortical areas exploit processes of predictive coding that collect sensorial inputs to build and update internal perceptual models. Modifications to [...] Read more.
Haptic perception (HP) is a perceptual modality requiring manual exploration to elaborate the physical characteristics of external stimuli through multisensory integrative cortical pathways. Cortical areas exploit processes of predictive coding that collect sensorial inputs to build and update internal perceptual models. Modifications to the internal representation of the body have been associated with eating disorders. In the light of this, obese subjects were selected as a valid experimental model to explore predictive coding in haptic perception. To this purpose, we performed electroencephalographic (EEG) continuous recordings during a haptic task in normally weighted versus obese subjects. EEG power spectra were analyzed in different time intervals. The quality of haptic performance in the obese group was poorer than in control subjects, though exploration times were similar. Spectral analysis showed a significant decrease in theta, alpha and beta frequencies in the right temporo-parietal areas of obese group, whereas gamma bands significantly increased in the left frontal areas. These results suggest that severe obesity could be characterized by an impairment in haptic performances and an altered activation of multisensory integrative cortical areas. These are involved in functional coding of external stimuli, which could interfere with the ability to process a predicted condition. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

12 pages, 725 KiB  
Article
Body Representations in Children with Cerebral Palsy
by Antonella Di Vita, Maria Cristina Cinelli, Simona Raimo, Maddalena Boccia, Stefano Buratin, Paola Gentili, Maria Teresa Inzitari, Teresa Iona, Marco Iosa, Daniela Morelli, Francesco Ruggeri, Giuseppina Russo, Cecilia Guariglia and Liana Palermo
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(8), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10080490 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2722
Abstract
We constantly process top-down and bottom-up inputs concerning our own body that interact to form body representations (BR). Even if some evidence showed BR deficits in children with cerebral palsy, a systematic study that evaluates different kinds of BR in these children, taking [...] Read more.
We constantly process top-down and bottom-up inputs concerning our own body that interact to form body representations (BR). Even if some evidence showed BR deficits in children with cerebral palsy, a systematic study that evaluates different kinds of BR in these children, taking into account the possible presence of a general deficit affecting non-body mental representations, is currently lacking. Here we aimed at investigating BR (i.e., Body Semantics, Body Structural Representation and Body Schema) in children with cerebral palsy (CP) taking into account performance in tasks involving body stimuli and performance in tasks involving non-body stimuli. Thirty-three CP (age range: 5–12 years) were compared with a group of 103 typically-developing children (TDC), matched for age and sex. 63.64% of children with CP showed a very poor performance in body representation processing. Present data also show alterations in different body representations in CP in specific developmental stages. In particular, CP and TDC performances did not differ between 5 to 7 years old, whereas CP between 8 and 12 years old showed deficits in the Body Structural Representation and Body Schema but not in Body Semantics. These findings revealed the importance of taking into account the overall development of cognitive domains when investigating specific stimuli processing in children who do not present a typical development and were discussed in terms of their clinical implications. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research

23 pages, 722 KiB  
Perspective
Interpersonal Motor Interactions Shape Multisensory Representations of the Peripersonal Space
by Martina Fanghella, Vanessa Era and Matteo Candidi
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(2), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11020255 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4617
Abstract
This perspective review focuses on the proposal that predictive multisensory integration occurring in one’s peripersonal space (PPS) supports individuals’ ability to efficiently interact with others, and that integrating sensorimotor signals from the interacting partners leads to the emergence of a shared representation of [...] Read more.
This perspective review focuses on the proposal that predictive multisensory integration occurring in one’s peripersonal space (PPS) supports individuals’ ability to efficiently interact with others, and that integrating sensorimotor signals from the interacting partners leads to the emergence of a shared representation of the PPS. To support this proposal, we first introduce the features of body and PPS representations that are relevant for interpersonal motor interactions. Then, we highlight the role of action planning and execution on the dynamic expansion of the PPS. We continue by presenting evidence of PPS modulations after tool use and review studies suggesting that PPS expansions may be accounted for by Bayesian sensory filtering through predictive coding. In the central section, we describe how this conceptual framework can be used to explain the mechanisms through which the PPS may be modulated by the actions of our interaction partner, in order to facilitate interpersonal coordination. Last, we discuss how this proposal may support recent evidence concerning PPS rigidity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and its possible relationship with ASD individuals’ difficulties during interpersonal coordination. Future studies will need to clarify the mechanisms and neural underpinning of these dynamic, interpersonal modulations of the PPS. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop