Research has demonstrated that from the first six months of life infants show early sensitivity to body visual features and rely on sensorimotor and proprioceptive inputs in forming representations of their own bodies. Premature birth interferes with typical exposition to visual, sensorimotor and proprioceptive stimulation, thus presumably affecting the development of body representations. Here, we tested this hypothesis by comparing the performance of preterm children with that of age-matched full-term children in two tasks assessing, respectively, visual body processing and body schema. We found that preterm children had spared configural processing but altered holistic processing of others’ bodies and showed a general difficulty in expressing visuospatial judgements on body stimuli. Furthermore, body-centered visuospatial abilities were associated with specific impairments in operating object-based visuospatial transformations. The findings of this study indicate that preterm birth might interfere with the development of body representations at the levels of body visual perceptual processing and of body schema, with effects even on visuo-spatial abilities for non-bodily stimuli. Body-centered rehabilitative interventions should be proposed to preterm children in order to enhance visuo-spatial abilities and higher-level cognitive functions.

Premature birth affects visual body representation and body schema in preterm children

Borgatti R.;Urgesi C.
2020

Abstract

Research has demonstrated that from the first six months of life infants show early sensitivity to body visual features and rely on sensorimotor and proprioceptive inputs in forming representations of their own bodies. Premature birth interferes with typical exposition to visual, sensorimotor and proprioceptive stimulation, thus presumably affecting the development of body representations. Here, we tested this hypothesis by comparing the performance of preterm children with that of age-matched full-term children in two tasks assessing, respectively, visual body processing and body schema. We found that preterm children had spared configural processing but altered holistic processing of others’ bodies and showed a general difficulty in expressing visuospatial judgements on body stimuli. Furthermore, body-centered visuospatial abilities were associated with specific impairments in operating object-based visuospatial transformations. The findings of this study indicate that preterm birth might interfere with the development of body representations at the levels of body visual perceptual processing and of body schema, with effects even on visuo-spatial abilities for non-bodily stimuli. Body-centered rehabilitative interventions should be proposed to preterm children in order to enhance visuo-spatial abilities and higher-level cognitive functions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1360918
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