Yann Coello, SCALab, Université de Lille
A functional approach to the representation of space for interacting with objects and people
Our ability to encode visual objects in motor terms contributes to a functional representation of the external world leading to distinct neural processing of objects close to the body (i.e., in the peripersonal space) and far from the body (i.e., in the extrapersonal space). A widely held view is that peripersonal space refers to a dynamic multimodal interface between the individual and the environment, which depends on body properties as well as objects characteristics and value. As such, the representation of peripersonal space contributes to the organization of physical interactions with the external world but also the acquisition of conceptual knowledge in agreement with the embodied-cognition framework. It also constitutes a space of safety for our organism, which broadly influences social interactions. On the basis of recent experimental, brain imaging and neuropsychological data, I will discuss the sensory-motor foundation of the representation of space and the consequence for our perceptual, cognitive and social activities.