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Disconnected hand avatar can be integrated into the peripersonal space

Abstract

Several studies have shown that space immediately surrounding the body, or the peripersonal space is represented differently in the brain from the more distant extra-personal space. Moreover, the boundary of peripersonal space can be extended to space surrounding the tip of a tool held by the hand. However, it is not known if tools need to be connected to the body to modulate the peripersonal space. We used a line bisection task to investigate whether peripersonal space representation surrounds a virtual hand avatar that is disconnected from the body. Healthy participants conducted a line bisection task by responding with either a virtual hand avatar or a laser pointer. The to-be-bisected lines were presented either in peripersonal or extra-personal space. When the lines were placed in extra-personal space, the virtual hand avatar was presented near the line such that the hand avatar was far from participants and disconnected from their bodies. Results indicated a shift in the line bisection bias from the left to the right as the line presentation distance increased when using the laser pointer, whereas no shift in bias was observed when using the virtual hand avatar. This result indicates that objects resembling human hands presented even at a distance and disconnected from the body can be integrated into the peripersonal space, which suggests that peripersonal space representation is more flexible than previously reported.

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Data availability

All relevant data to generate figures in our experiment are shown in the Supporting information file.

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Funding

This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science [Grant numbers: 19H01490] to KY. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Conceived and designed the experiment: DM KY. Performed the experiment: DM. Analyzed the data: DM. Wrote the paper: DM KY.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daisuke Mine.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethics approval

The ethical committee of the Department of Psychology at the University of Tokyo approved the experiment. The study was conducted according to the principles and guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Consent to publish

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants to publish their data.

Additional information

Communicated by Francesca Frassinetti.

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Mine, D., Yokosawa, K. Disconnected hand avatar can be integrated into the peripersonal space. Exp Brain Res 239, 237–244 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-020-05971-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-020-05971-z

Keywords

  • Peripersonal space
  • Line bisection task
  • Pseudoneglect
  • Virtual reality