The representation of the reachable space near the body or peripersonal space (PPS) plays an important role in action with objects and interaction with other people. Here we explored whether the representation of other people’s PPS involves a simulation of their action possibility depending on the distance between the observer's body and the other person. We hypothesized that a simulation of action possibilities of others should be activated when they share the PPS of observers. In two experiments using Immersive Virtual Reality, the avatars were shown with their arms free or blocked (motor interference) at a reachable (i.e., Near/shared PPS) or not-reachable (i.e., Far/not-shared PPS) distance by the participants. Participants had to locate a glass in relation to the midline of the avatar’s body, i.e., assuming the perspective of the avatar. To directly compare the representation of one’s own and others’ PPS, in Experiment 1 participants had to locate the glass in relation to themselves with their arms free or blocked. The glass was always within the PPS of either participants or avatars. The results showed that the localization of the glass from the avatar’s perspective was slower with the blocked than free arm only when the avatar was in the near shared PPS, similar to the localization from one’s own first-person perspective. Instead, there was no effect of motor interference in the far, not-shared PPS. This suggests that the representation of other people’s PPS can involve motor simulation mechanisms when we share a common peripersonal area.

Can I put myself in your shoes? Sharing peripersonal space reveals the simulation of the action possibilities of others

Iachini, Tina
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Ruggiero, Gennaro
Writing – Review & Editing
2021

Abstract

The representation of the reachable space near the body or peripersonal space (PPS) plays an important role in action with objects and interaction with other people. Here we explored whether the representation of other people’s PPS involves a simulation of their action possibility depending on the distance between the observer's body and the other person. We hypothesized that a simulation of action possibilities of others should be activated when they share the PPS of observers. In two experiments using Immersive Virtual Reality, the avatars were shown with their arms free or blocked (motor interference) at a reachable (i.e., Near/shared PPS) or not-reachable (i.e., Far/not-shared PPS) distance by the participants. Participants had to locate a glass in relation to the midline of the avatar’s body, i.e., assuming the perspective of the avatar. To directly compare the representation of one’s own and others’ PPS, in Experiment 1 participants had to locate the glass in relation to themselves with their arms free or blocked. The glass was always within the PPS of either participants or avatars. The results showed that the localization of the glass from the avatar’s perspective was slower with the blocked than free arm only when the avatar was in the near shared PPS, similar to the localization from one’s own first-person perspective. Instead, there was no effect of motor interference in the far, not-shared PPS. This suggests that the representation of other people’s PPS can involve motor simulation mechanisms when we share a common peripersonal area.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/461037
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