Body in space inside the Mind - Multiple representations of the body and space in the brain

Participants: Mark B. Shapiro
Research Scientist Sensory Motor Performance Program
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Institutions: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University

EVL Cyber-Commons
Room 2068 ERF

When we move our body or make a reaching arm movement, it is essential to know where our body is in space with respect to the target or, conversely, where the target is relative to the body. But how do we know that? While our movements happen in the physical world, the planning and control of movement involves internal representations of the body and external space. These representations are formed by multiple networked regions of the brain using information provided by sensors of different modalities. Vision is the major source of information about the external space, while sensors inside the muscles provide a sense of position and movement of the body parts, or proprioception. Finally, one can think of neural commands to muscles as elements of the internal motor space. Thus, planning and control of movement involves multiple levels of processing and transformations both within and between the space representations, e.g., visual-proprioceptive, visual-motor, and proprioceptive-motor. I will review some of the current views of these representations, in particular body schema and body image, and will discuss possible involvement of the subcortical structures, in particular the basal ganglia, in construction of the body schema. I will focus on the effect of Parkinson’s disease, which affects information processing in the basal ganglia, on planning and control of voluntary movement, and discuss possible ways to use virtual reality to improve internal representations of the body and space in movement disorders.


Date: February 23, 2011
Mark B. Shapiro, PhD - M. Shapiro, RIC

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