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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 27 January 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00003

The perception of peripersonal space in right and left brain damage hemiplegic patients

Angela Bartolo1, Mauraine Carlier1, Sabrina Hassaini2, Yves Martin3 and Yann Coello1*
  • 1Laboratoire Unité de Recherche en Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, Université Lille Nord de France, Lille, France
  • 2Service de Neuropsychologie, Centre de rééducation et de réadaptations fonctionnelles spécialisées – Sainte Barbe, Fouquières les Lens, France
  • 3Service de Neuropsychologie, Centre de rééducation et de réadaptations fonctionnelles spécialisées – L’Espoir, Hellemmes, France

Peripersonal space, as opposed to extrapersonal space, is the space that contains reachable objects and in which multisensory and sensorimotor integration is enhanced. Thus, the perception of peripersonal space requires combining information on the spatial properties of the environment with information on the current capacity to act. In support of this, recent studies have provided converging evidences that perceiving objects in peripersonal space activates a neural network overlapping with that subtending voluntary motor action and motor imagery. Other studies have also underlined the dominant role of the right hemisphere (RH) in motor planning and of the left hemisphere (LH) in on-line motor guiding, respectively. In the present study, we investigated the effect of a right or left hemiplegia in the perception of peripersonal space. 16 hemiplegic patients with brain damage to the left (LH) or right (RH) hemisphere and eight matched healthy controls performed a color discrimination, a motor imagery and a reachability judgment task. Analyses of response times and accuracy revealed no variation among the three groups in the color discrimination task, suggesting the absence of any specific perceptual or decisional deficits in the patient groups. In contrast, the patient groups revealed longer response times in the motor imagery task when performed in reference to the hemiplegic arm (RH and LH) or to the healthy arm (RH). Moreover, RH group showed longer response times in the reachability judgment task, but only for stimuli located at the boundary of peripersonal space, which was furthermore significantly reduced in size. Considered together, these results confirm the crucial role of the motor system in motor imagery task and the perception of peripersonal space. They also revealed that RH damage has a more detrimental effect on reachability estimates, suggesting that motor planning processes contribute specifically to the perception of peripersonal space.

Keywords: perception and action, spatial vision, peripersonal space, brain damage, right left hemispheres

Citation: Bartolo A, Carlier M, Hassaini S, Martin Y and Coello Y (2014) The perception of peripersonal space in right and left brain damage hemiplegic patients. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:3. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00003

Received: 27 July 2013; Accepted: 04 January 2014;
Published online: 27 January 2014.

Edited by:

Gabriella Bottini, University of Pavia, Italy

Reviewed by:

Stephanie Rossit, University of East Anglia, UK
Andrea Serino, University of Bologna, Italy

Copyright © 2014 Bartolo, Carlier, Hassaini, Martin and Coello. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Yann Coello, Laboratoire Unité de Recherche en Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, Université Charles de Gaulle - Lille3, BP 60149, 59653, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France e-mail: yann.coello@univ-lille3.fr