Spatial Biases in Peripersonal Space in Sighted and Blind Individuals Revealed by a Haptic Line Bisection Paradigm

Zaira Cattaneo, Micaela Fantino, Carla Tinti, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Juha Silvanto, Tomaso Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our representation of peripersonal space does not always accurately reflect the physical world. An example of this is pseudoneglect, a phenomenon in which neurologically normal individuals bisect to the left of the veridical midpoint, reflecting an overrepresentation of the left portion of space compared with the right one. Consistent biases have also been observed in the vertical and radial planes. It is an open question whether these biases depend on normal visual experience for their occurrence. Here we systematically investigated this issue by testing blindfolded sighted and early blind individuals in a haptic line bisection task. Critically, we found a robust leftward bias in all participants. In the vertical and radial planes, sighted participants showed a consistent downward and proximal bias. Conversely, the directional bias in blind participants was dependent on the final movement direction; thus, there was no general bias in either direction. These findings are discussed in terms of different reference frames adopted by sighted and blind participants when encoding space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1110-1121
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Early blind
  • Haptic line bisection
  • Pseudoneglect
  • Spatial representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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