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


Marini, F; Tagliabue, C F; Sposito, A V; Hernandez-Arieta, A; Brugger, P; Estévez, N; Maravita, A (2014). Crossmodal representation of a functional robotic hand arises after extensive training in healthy participants. Neuropsychologia, 53:178-186.

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.

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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:06 Jan 2014 15:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:19
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0028-3932
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.11.017
PubMed ID:24296252
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-87486

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