Topological and hodological aspects of body representation in right brain damaged patients

Maddalena Boccia, Simona Raimo, Antonella Di Vita, Andrea Battisti, Alessandro Matano, Cecilia Guariglia, Dario Grossi, Liana Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The triadic taxonomy posits that three distinct types of body representations do exist, namely the body schema (BS), which corresponds to the representation derived from multiple sensory and motor inputs, the body structural representation (BSR), which corresponds to the structural description of spatial relations among the body parts, and the body semantics (SEM), which corresponds to the lexical-semantic representation of the body. Although several studies have assessed neural correlates of these representations, no study has compared them in brain-damaged patients, controlling for deficits in other cognitive domains. Also, little is known about the contribution of the right hemisphere to different body representations. Here we used a computerized battery to test these three body representations in twenty-six right brain damaged patients, controlling for other cognitive deficits by means of tests tapping similar spatial and lexical processes on non-body related stimuli. Residual scores corresponding to the BS, the BSR and the SEM were used to test neural correlates, which were assessed by integrating topological and hodological approaches to lesion-deficit analyses. We found that the BSR was associated with lesion of the superior temporal gyrus, the insula, the supramarginal gyrus and the temporo-parietal junction, extending also to the Rolandic operculum and the inferior frontal gyrus. Also, it was associated with the disconnection probability of the posterior arcuate segment. The BS was associated with a small cluster of voxels in the precentral and postcentral gyri, whereas the SEM was associated with white matter lesion at the boundary between the parietal and temporal lobes. Overall, these results provide strong support to the regional and connectional contribution of the right hemisphere to body representation, and more specifically to the BSR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107637
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Body image
  • Body map
  • Body structural description
  • VLSM
  • Voxel-lesion symptom mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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