When far becomes near: Remapping of space by tool use

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Far (extrapersonal) and near (peripersonal) spaces are behaviorally defined as the space outside the hand-reaching distance and the space within the hand-reaching distance. Animal and human studies have confirmed this distinction, showing that space is not homogeneously represented in the brain. In this paper we demonstrate that the coding of space as 'far' and 'near' is not only determined by the hand-reaching distance, but it is also dependent on how the brain represents the extension of the body space. We will show that when the cerebral representation of body space is extended to include objects or tools used by the subject, space previously mapped as far can be remapped as near. Patient P.P., after a right hemisphere stroke, showed a dissociation between near and far spaces in the manifestation of neglect. Indeed, in a line bisection task, neglect was apparent in near space, but not in far space when bisection in the far space was performed with a projection lightpen. However, when in the far space bisection was performed with a stick, used by the patient to reach the line, neglect appeared and was as severe as neglect in the near space. An artificial extension of the patient's body (the stick) caused a remapping of far space as near space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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