Remapping nociceptive stimuli into a peripersonal reference frame is spatially locked to the stimulated limb

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Abstract

The localization of harmful stimuli approaching our body is essential for survival. Here we investigated whether the mapping of nociceptive stimuli is based on a spatial representation that is anchored to the stimulated limb. In three experiments, we measured the effect of unilateral visual stimuli on the perceived temporal order of nociceptive stimuli, applied to each hand. Crucially, the position of the hands and the visual stimuli was manipulated, so that visual and nociceptive stimuli occurred in an adjacent or non-adjacent spatial position. Temporal order judgments of nociceptive stimuli were biased in favor of the stimulus applied to the hand most adjacent to the visual stimulus, irrespective to their positions in space. This suggests that the ability to determine the position of a nociceptive stimulus on a specific body area is based on a peripersonal representation of the stimulated limb following it during limb displacement.

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