Updating a Classic Concept
An internal representation of the human body is crucial for a wide range of activities such as planning action, registering the location of sensory input and making judgments about whether one could fit into a particularly appealing item of clothing. Given the central role of body representations in these and many other behaviors it is not surprising that the issue was addressed by a number of investigators in the early part of the twentieth century (e.g., Pick, 1922; Head & Holmes, 1911–1912). In this chapter, Coslett first reviews evidence supporting the existence of multiple discrete but interacting representations of the human body. In the second section of the chapter, he elaborates on the “body schema”, a representation of particular relevance for sensory-motor processing as it mediates between perception and action. As will become clear, the accounts developed are heavily influenced by the work of neurologists and psychiatrists from the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries–the original cognitive neuroscientists.
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