There is evidence suggesting that viewing hands triggers automatic access to the Body Structural Description, a visual-spatial representation of human body parts configuration. Hands, however, have a special representational status within the brain because of their significance for action and cognition. We tested whether feet, less important in gestural and object-directed action, would similarly show automatic access to the Body Structural Description. Positive evidence of that would be finding a Sidedness effect (Ottoboni et al. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 31:778–789, 2005), a Simon-like paradigm previously used to study automatic hand recognition. This effect demonstrates that processing hands generates spatial codes corresponding to the side of the body on which the hand would be located within the Body Structural Description map. Feet were shown with toes pointing upwards (Experiment 1), without any connection to the ankle and the leg (Experiment 2) and with toes pointing downwards (Experiment 3). Results revealed a Sidedness effect in both Experiments 1 and 3: spatial compatibility occurred according to the side of the body that each foot would assume within the Body Structural Description. In Experiment 2, as already found in stimuli similarly featured, no effect emerged, due to the lack of the necessary anatomical links connecting the foot to a body. Results suggest that body parts with variable degrees of significance for action and cognition can access automatically the Body Structural Description hence reinforcing the hypothesis of its pure visuo-spatial nature.

Is access to the body structural description sensitive to a body part’s significance for action and cognition? A study of the sidedness effect using feet.

TESSARI, ALESSIA;OTTOBONI, GIOVANNI;BARONI, GIULIA;NICOLETTI, ROBERTO
2012

Abstract

There is evidence suggesting that viewing hands triggers automatic access to the Body Structural Description, a visual-spatial representation of human body parts configuration. Hands, however, have a special representational status within the brain because of their significance for action and cognition. We tested whether feet, less important in gestural and object-directed action, would similarly show automatic access to the Body Structural Description. Positive evidence of that would be finding a Sidedness effect (Ottoboni et al. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 31:778–789, 2005), a Simon-like paradigm previously used to study automatic hand recognition. This effect demonstrates that processing hands generates spatial codes corresponding to the side of the body on which the hand would be located within the Body Structural Description map. Feet were shown with toes pointing upwards (Experiment 1), without any connection to the ankle and the leg (Experiment 2) and with toes pointing downwards (Experiment 3). Results revealed a Sidedness effect in both Experiments 1 and 3: spatial compatibility occurred according to the side of the body that each foot would assume within the Body Structural Description. In Experiment 2, as already found in stimuli similarly featured, no effect emerged, due to the lack of the necessary anatomical links connecting the foot to a body. Results suggest that body parts with variable degrees of significance for action and cognition can access automatically the Body Structural Description hence reinforcing the hypothesis of its pure visuo-spatial nature.
Tessari A.; Ottoboni G.; Baroni G.; Symes E.; Nicoletti R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/116013
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