Psychophysical experiments have demonstrated large and highly systematic perceptual distortions of tactile space. Such a space can be referred to our experience of the spatial organisation of objects, at representational level, through touch, in analogy with the familiar concept of visual space. We investigated the neural basis of tactile space by analysing activity patterns induced by tactile stimulation of nine points on a 3 × 3 square grid on the hand dorsum using functional magnetic resonance imaging. We used a searchlight (...) approach within pre-defined regions of interests to compute the pairwise Euclidean distances between the activity patterns elicited by tactile stimulation. Then, we used multidimensional scaling to reconstruct tactile space at the neural level and compare it with skin space at the perceptual level. Our reconstructions of the shape of skin space in contralateral primary somatosensory and motor cortices reveal that it is distorted in a way that matches the perceptual shape of skin space. This suggests that early sensorimotor areas critically contribute to the distorted internal representation of tactile space on the hand dorsum. (shrink)
Plasticity of body representation fundamentally underpins human tool use. Recent studies have demonstrated remarkably complex plasticity of body representation in humans, showing that such plasticity (1) occurs flexibly across multiple time scales and (2) involves multiple body representations responding differently to tool use. Such findings reveal remarkable sophistication of body plasticity in humans, suggesting that Vaesen may overestimate the similarity of such mechanisms in humans and non-human primates.
How do we acquire a mental representation of our own face? Recently, synchronous, but not asynchronous, interpersonal multisensory stimulation between one’s own and another person’s face has been used to evoke changes in self-identification. We investigated the conscious experience of these changes with principal component analyses that revealed that while the conscious experience during synchronous IMS focused on resemblance and similarity with the other’s face, during asynchronous IMS it focused on multisensory stimulation. Analyses of the identified common factor structure revealed (...) significant quantitative differences between synchronous and asynchronous IMS on self-identification and perceived similarity with the other’s face. Experiment 2 revealed that participants with lower interoceptive sensitivity experienced stronger enfacement illusion. Overall, self-identification and body-ownership rely on similar basic mechanisms of multisensory integration, but the effects of multisensory input on their experience are qualitatively different, possibly underlying the face’s unique role as a marker of selfhood. (shrink)
Schilbach et al. contrast second-person and third-person approaches to social neuroscience. We discuss relations between second-person and first-person approaches, arguing that they cannot be studied in isolation. Contingency is central for converging first- and second-person approaches. Studies of embodiment show how contingencies scaffold first-person perspective and how the transition from a third- to a second-person perspective fundamentally involves first-person contributions.
The empirical support for the shared circuits model (SCM) is mixed. We review recent results from our own lab and others supporting a central claim of SCM that mirroring occurs at multiple levels of representation. By contrast, the model is silent as to why human infants are capable of showing imitative behaviours mediated by a mirror system. This limitation is a problem with formal models that address neither the neural correlates nor the behavioural evidence directly.
We question the generalizability of Glover's model because it fails to distinguish between different forms of planning. The highly controlled experimental situations on which this model is based, do not reflect some important factors that contribute to planning. We discuss several classes of action that seem to imply distinct planning mechanisms, questioning Glover's postulation of a single “planning system.”.