The way in which humans represent their own bodies is critical in guiding their interactions with the environment. To achieve successful body-space interactions, the body representation is strictly connected with that of the space immediately surrounding it through efficient visuo-tactile crossmodal integration. Such a body-space integrated representation is not fixed, but can be dynamically modulated by the use of external tools. Our study aims to explore the effect of using a complex tool, namely a functional prosthesis, on crossmodal visuo-tactile spatial interactions in healthy participants. By using the crossmodal visuo-tactile congruency paradigm, we found that prolonged training with a mechanical hand capable of distal hand movements and providing sensory feedback induces a pattern of interference, which is not observed after a brief training, between visual stimuli close to the prosthesis and touches on the body. These results suggest that after extensive, but not short, training the functional prosthesis acquires a visuo-tactile crossmodal representation akin to real limbs. This finding adds to previous evidence for the embodiment of functional prostheses in amputees, and shows that their use may also improve the crossmodal combination of somatosensory feedback delivered by the prosthesis with visual stimuli in the space around it, thus effectively augmenting the patients' visuomotor abilities.

Crossmodal representation of a functional robotic hand arises after extensive training in healthy participants.

MARINI, FRANCESCO;TAGLIABUE, CHIARA FRANCESCA;
2014

Abstract

The way in which humans represent their own bodies is critical in guiding their interactions with the environment. To achieve successful body-space interactions, the body representation is strictly connected with that of the space immediately surrounding it through efficient visuo-tactile crossmodal integration. Such a body-space integrated representation is not fixed, but can be dynamically modulated by the use of external tools. Our study aims to explore the effect of using a complex tool, namely a functional prosthesis, on crossmodal visuo-tactile spatial interactions in healthy participants. By using the crossmodal visuo-tactile congruency paradigm, we found that prolonged training with a mechanical hand capable of distal hand movements and providing sensory feedback induces a pattern of interference, which is not observed after a brief training, between visual stimuli close to the prosthesis and touches on the body. These results suggest that after extensive, but not short, training the functional prosthesis acquires a visuo-tactile crossmodal representation akin to real limbs. This finding adds to previous evidence for the embodiment of functional prostheses in amputees, and shows that their use may also improve the crossmodal combination of somatosensory feedback delivered by the prosthesis with visual stimuli in the space around it, thus effectively augmenting the patients' visuomotor abilities.
crossmodal interactions; visuo-tactile interference; peripersonal space; prosthesis; visuomotor control; Plasticity
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/794167
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 11
  • Scopus 22
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 21
social impact