Visual perception and spatial transformation of the body in children and adolescents with brain tumor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Representations of own and others' body play a crucial role in social interaction. While extensive knowledge has been gathered on the neuropsychological deficits affecting body representation in adult brain lesion patients, little is known on how acquired damage to a developing brain may affect this process. We tested it on pediatric brain tumor survivors, comparing the abilities of 30 children and adolescents (aged 8-16 years) surviving from a supratentorial tumor (STT) or an infratentorial tumor (ITT) in two different tasks of body representation. Thirty children with typical development (TD) served as control group. In the first task, we tested configural (body inversion effect) and holistic (composite illusion effect) processing of others' bodies. In the second task, we tested the ability to perform first-person and object-based mental spatial transformations of own body and external objects, respectively. Configural processing was spared in all patients. Conversely, ITT, but not STT patients, were impaired in the holistic processing of body stimuli. STT patients performed overall worse than both controls and ITT patients at mental spatial transformations of both own body and external objects. ITT children presented selective alteration in using the first-person transformation strategies with body stimuli. Results suggest that body-representation abilities may be heavily affected in pediatric brain tumor survivors. STTs may be associated to greater difficulties in mental visuo-spatial transformation abilities, likely reflecting damage to fronto-parietal circuits. Conversely, ITTs may be associated to specific disturbances of visual body perception abilities that require motor simulation processes, reflecting direct or indirect damage to cerebellar areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-136
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


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