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1 - The growing body: a multisensory challenge

Fri, March 22, 3:00 to 4:30pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 349

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

The growth of the physical body is almost synonymous with childhood development. The body changes in size and relative proportion, growing unevenly and over many years. Thus, the child is in a state of constant flux and uncertainty regarding the sole medium through which she interacts with both the physical and social world. We ask how the growing child understands her own body in this challenging context. Paper 1 introduces the idea that multisensory interactions facilitate body understanding even in early infancy, showing that visual-tactile correlations are expected and used in the first year of life. Paper 2 shows that in understanding her own body, the developing child not only uses multisensory information but also prior knowledge of body posture and size. Paper 3 reveals the significant distortions that are nevertheless present in the child’s perceived body size and judgements of her action capabilities. Papers 2 and 3 both suggest that multiple, compartmentalised body representations appear to exist in the developing brain. Paper 4 finally considers developing body representations in the different developmental context of blindness and low vision. It reveals the impact upon the multisensory understanding of the body; and shows that perception can be rehabilitated using a sound-based wearable device. We will schedule ample time for questions, and for an integrated discussion following the talks. In this way we aim to highlight state of the art in the field, and to generate new questions for research in, and beyond, this topic.

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