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Rapid Recalibration of Peri-Personal Space: Psychophysical, Electrophysiological, and Neural Network Modeling Evidence

Published: 7 May 2020
Cerebral Cortex , Volume 30, pp 5088-5106; doi:10.1093/cercor/bhaa103

Abstract: Interactions between individuals and the environment occur within the peri-personal space (PPS). The encoding of this space plastically adapts to bodily constraints and stimuli features. However, these remapping effects have not been demonstrated on an adaptive time-scale, trial-to-trial. Here, we test this idea first via a visuo-tactile reaction time (RT) paradigm in augmented reality where participants are asked to respond as fast as possible to touch, as visual objects approach them. Results demonstrate that RTs to touch are facilitated as a function of visual proximity, and the sigmoidal function describing this facilitation shifts closer to the body if the immediately precedent trial had indexed a smaller visuo-tactile disparity. Next, we derive the electroencephalographic correlates of PPS and demonstrate that this multisensory measure is equally shaped by recent sensory history. Finally, we demonstrate that a validated neural network model of PPS is able to account for the present results via a simple Hebbian plasticity rule. The present findings suggest that PPS encoding remaps on a very rapid time-scale and, more generally, that it is sensitive to sensory history, a key feature for any process contextualizing subsequent incoming sensory information (e.g., a Bayesian prior).
Keywords: Function / adaptive / PPS / Time scale / Neural Network Modeling / Remaps / plastically
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