The space surrounding our body, defined as peripersonal space (PPS), is dynamically shaped by our motor experiences. For instance, PPS extends after using a tool to reach far objects. Several studies have demonstrated how PPS size varies across people, depending on different individual characteristics, including schizotypy. Coherently, narrower PPS boundaries have been reported among high schizotypal individuals and schizophrenia patients. However, little is known about the relationship between PPS plasticity and personality traits like schizotypy. To this purpose, the present study has investigated the individual PPS plasticity, after two different motor trainings, along the schizotypal continuum. Specifically, PPS plasticity was tested after using a tool (Experiment 1) and after the mere observation of another person using the same tool (Experiment 2). Indeed, previous evidence has shown that tool-use observation influences visual distance judgments, extending the representation of PPS. To date, however, there is no study investigating whether observation of tools action could also affect multisensory PPS tasks. Experiment 1 has shown that PPS boundaries extended after using the tool; on the other hand, Experiment 2 has revealed the absence of PPS expansion. Moreover, greater PPS expansion emerged in the relatively-low schizotypal group than in the relatively-high one, regardless of the type of motor training performed. The absence of PPS modulation after the observation task is discussed in relation to recent findings showing that intentional action and/or the goal of the action represent potentially crucial elements to trigger PPS plasticity. Finally, these new results extend previous evidence underlining a potential general functional alteration of PPS with the increase of schizotypal level.
Schizotypy and individual differences in peripersonal space plasticity / Ferroni, F.; Ardizzi, M.; Ferri, F.; Tesanovic, A.; Langiulli, N.; Tonna, M.; Marchesi, C.; Gallese, V.. - In: NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA. - ISSN 0028-3932. - 147(2020), p. 107579. [10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107579]