Different tool training induces specific effects on body metric representation

Daniele Romano, Elena Uberti, Pietro Caggiano, Gianna Cocchini, Angelo Maravita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Morphology and functional aspects of the tool have been proposed to be critical factors modulating tool use-induced plasticity. However, how these aspects contribute to changing body representation has been underinvestigated. In the arm bisection task, participants have to estimate the length of their own arm by indicating its midpoint, a paradigm used to investigate the representation of the metric properties of the body. We employed this paradigm to investigate the impact of different actions onto tool embodiment. Our findings suggest that a training requiring actions mostly with proximal (shoulder) or distal (wrist) parts induces a different shift in the perceived arm midpoint. This effect is independent of, but enhanced by, the use of the tool during the training and in part influenced by specific demands of the task. These results suggest that specific motor patterns required by the training can induce different changes of body representation, calling for rethinking the concept of tool embodiment, which would be characterized not simply by the morphology of the tools, but also by the actions required for their specific use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-501
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019


  • Arm bisection task
  • Body representation
  • Body schema
  • Embodiment
  • Tool use


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