October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Effector-independence in the visuo-motor system: the case of foot action in people born without hands
Author Affiliations
  • Ella Striem-Amit
    Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA
    Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
  • Yuqi Liu
    Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA
  • Gilles Vannuscorps
    Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
    Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
    Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Psychological Sciences Research Institute and Institute of Neurosciences, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348, Belgium
  • Alfonso Caramazza
    Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
    Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 1236. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1236
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      Ella Striem-Amit, Yuqi Liu, Gilles Vannuscorps, Alfonso Caramazza; Effector-independence in the visuo-motor system: the case of foot action in people born without hands. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1236. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1236.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Many parts of the visuo-motor system are engaged in guiding the movement of the hands for daily tasks like reaching for and grasping objects. But to what extent is the organization of these regions dependent on the hand as a specific body part whose movement they guide, and to what extent are they organized for the grasping task, regardless of the body part used as an effector? We tested a unique population, people born without hands who use the feet as the primary effector (dysplasics), to address this question. In a functional neuroimaging experiment, dysplasics and typically-developed controls performed grasping and reaching actions with their primary effector, that is, the right foot for the dysplasics and right hand for the controls. Beyond primary sensorimotor cortices which showed selectivity for the hand and foot, we found a preference based on action type in parietal and frontal motor association areas including left anterior intraparietal sulcus and dorsal premotor cortex, regardless of the effector used. These results indicate that some motor association areas are organized based on abstract action functions independent of the specific sensorimotor parameters.

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