Journal of the Indian Institute of Science

, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 443–450 | Cite as

Altered Visuo-spatial Processing in the Peri-personal Space: A New Look at the Hand-Proximity Effects

  • Tony ThomasEmail author
  • Meera Mary Sunny
Review Article


The previous studies have shown the importance of body in the visuo-spatial representation of space and the objects in it. Perception of objects located near the body trigger activations in brain regions involved in making voluntary movements. Such activations are restricted to the peripersonal space (PPS) particularly within a certain distance of the hand and are considered the visual receptive field of this space. Behavioral findings have shown reduced response time and enhanced accuracy for targets presented in the peri-hand space, referred to as the peri-hand effect. There has been considerable debate about the nature of these effects with some researchers arguing that it is attentional and others arguing that it is perceptual. In the current review, we summarize research about the PPS with a special focus on the peri-hand space and changes to visuo-spatial processing associated with objects places in this space. We suggest that there is enough evidence in the literature pointing at independent and dissociable perceptual and attentional effects in the peri-hand space. We also highlight the differences in the spatial extent of these effects for perception and attention. We propose that future studies looking at the peri-hand effects should dissociate these effects to better understand the nature of visual processing occurring in the peri-hand space.
Peri-hand effect


Peripersonal space Hand-proximity effect Spatial prioritization Attentional disengagement Modulated visual pathway (MVP) hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Science 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Cognitive Science, Indian Institute of Technology GandhinagarGandhinagarIndia

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