Glossary

apraxia A disorder of action planning that affects object use, performance of meaningful gestures on command, and imitation of gestures.

autotopagnosia Inability to designate body parts on command.

finger agnosia Inability to designate single fingers on command.

heautoscopy Seeing a double of oneself.

hemineglect A failure to attend to one side of space.

optic ataxie Inaccurate reaching for visually presented targets contrasting with accurate reaching for targets from other modalities.

phantom The persistence of proprioceptive sensation from missing or deafferented body parts.

proprioception Somatosensory "selfperception" of configuration and movements of one's body.

The importance of perceiving one's body and of knowing about it appears intuitively evident. This intuition and clinical observations of disturbed body perception following local brain damage led to the proposal that there are brain mechanisms specifically dedicated to body perception and body knowledge. ''Body schema'' and ''body image'' have become popular terms for designating mental representations of the spatial structure of our body that have a distinct cerebral substrate and can hence be subject to selective damage.

Two kinds of criticism have been raised against this idea: Apparently selective deficits of body perception and knowledge have been criticized as being artificially isolated aspects of more general disorders of perception and knowledge, and a unique mental representation of body has been said to be unable to account for clinical dissociations between different kinds of disturbances of body perception and body knowledge. Whereas the first criticism calls into question the existence of any dedicated mental representation of body, the second posits that there must be more than one of them.

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