Spatial Biases in Peripersonal Space in Sighted and Blind Individuals Revealed by a Haptic Line Bisection Paradigm

Zaira Cattaneo*, Micaela Fantino, Carla Tinti, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Juha Silvanto, Tomaso Vecchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our representation of peripersonal space does not always accurately reflect the physical world. An example of this is pseudoneglect, a phenomenon in which neurologically normal individuals bisect to the left of the veridical midpoint, reflecting an overrepresentation of the left portion of space compared with the right one. Consistent biases have also been observed in the vertical and radial planes. It is an open question whether these biases depend on normal visual experience for their occurrence. Here we systematically investigated this issue by testing blindfolded sighted and early blind individuals in a haptic line bisection task. Critically, we found a robust leftward bias in all participants. In the vertical and radial planes, sighted participants showed a consistent downward and proximal bias. Conversely, the directional bias in blind participants was dependent on the final movement direction; thus, there was no general bias in either direction. These findings are discussed in terms of different reference frames adopted by sighted and blind participants when encoding space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1110-1121
Number of pages12
JournalJOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: HUMAN PERCEPTION AND PERFORMANCE
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • spatial representation
  • early blind
  • haptic line bisection
  • pseudoneglect
  • LEFT-SIDE UNDERESTIMATION
  • CONGENITALLY BLIND
  • ATTENTIONAL BIAS
  • READING HABITS
  • RADIAL LINES
  • NEGLECT
  • TACTILE
  • PSEUDONEGLECT
  • LENGTH
  • REPRESENTATION

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