Auditory and tactile stimuli are integrated within a limited space around the body to form an auditory peripersonal space (APPS). Here we investigate whether the APPS representation around the hand can be extended through the use of a common technological tool such as the computer mouse. When using a mouse, an action occurring in the space around the hand has a distal effect in the space defined by the computer screen; thus, the mouse virtually links near and far space. Does prolonged experience with the mouse durably extend APPS representation to the far space? We examined 16 habitual mouse users to determine whether a sound presented near the right hand or near the computer screen affected reaction times to a tactile target at the hand. When subjects sat in front of the computer, without holding the mouse, they responded faster to tactile stimuli when sounds were presented near the hand rather than near the screen, consistent with a normal segregation of APPS around the hand. In contrast, when subjects either actively used or even passively held the mouse, the difference between the effects of near and far sounds disappeared, thus showing an extension of the APPS toward the far space. This effect was selective for the effector used to operate the mouse: if tactile stimuli were presented on the left hand, rarely used to act upon the mouse, a sound presented near the hand speeded up reactions times when subjects both held and did not hold the mouse in their left hand.

Everyday use of the computer mouse extends peripersonal space representation.

Ubaldi, Silvia;
2010

Abstract

Auditory and tactile stimuli are integrated within a limited space around the body to form an auditory peripersonal space (APPS). Here we investigate whether the APPS representation around the hand can be extended through the use of a common technological tool such as the computer mouse. When using a mouse, an action occurring in the space around the hand has a distal effect in the space defined by the computer screen; thus, the mouse virtually links near and far space. Does prolonged experience with the mouse durably extend APPS representation to the far space? We examined 16 habitual mouse users to determine whether a sound presented near the right hand or near the computer screen affected reaction times to a tactile target at the hand. When subjects sat in front of the computer, without holding the mouse, they responded faster to tactile stimuli when sounds were presented near the hand rather than near the screen, consistent with a normal segregation of APPS around the hand. In contrast, when subjects either actively used or even passively held the mouse, the difference between the effects of near and far sounds disappeared, thus showing an extension of the APPS toward the far space. This effect was selective for the effector used to operate the mouse: if tactile stimuli were presented on the left hand, rarely used to act upon the mouse, a sound presented near the hand speeded up reactions times when subjects both held and did not hold the mouse in their left hand.
3
Bassolino, M.; Serino, A.; Ubaldi, Silvia; Làdavas, E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/96241
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