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Title: Somatotopic Specificity of Perceptual and Neurophysiological Changes Associated with Visuo-proprioceptive Realignment
Abstract When visual and proprioceptive estimates of hand position disagree (e.g., viewing the hand underwater), the brain realigns them to reduce mismatch. This perceptual change is reflected in primary motor cortex (M1) excitability, suggesting potential relevance for hand movement. Here, we asked whether fingertip visuo-proprioceptive misalignment affects only the brain’s representation of that finger (somatotopically focal), or extends to other parts of the limb that would be needed to move the misaligned finger (somatotopically broad). In Experiments 1 and 2, before and after misaligned or veridical visuo-proprioceptive training at the index finger, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation to assess M1 representation of five hand and arm muscles. The index finger representation showed an association between M1 excitability and visuo-proprioceptive realignment, as did the pinkie finger representation to a lesser extent. Forearm flexors, forearm extensors, and biceps did not show any such relationship. In Experiment 3, participants indicated their proprioceptive estimate of the fingertip, knuckle, wrist, and elbow, before and after misalignment at the fingertip. Proprioceptive realignment at the knuckle, but not the wrist or elbow, was correlated with realignment at the fingertip. These results suggest the effects of visuo-proprioceptive mismatch are somatotopically focal in both sensory and motor domains.
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Cerebral Cortex
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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