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Disownership of left hand and objects related to it in a patient with right brain damage

Aglioti, Salvatore1,4; Smania, Nicola2; Manfredi, Michela3; Berlucchi, Giovanni1

Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

WE describe a woman with right brain damage who denied the ownership of her left hand and of extracorporeal objects (e.g. rings) which were worn on the left hand itself. When the same objects were worn on the right hand or were held by the examiner, the patient correctly recognized them as her own. Other personal objects unrelated to the left hand (e.g. pins, earrings, comb) were always correctly recognized as her own. Thus, by inference, the mental image of one's body may include inanimate objects which had been in contact or in close proximity with the body itself. These findings provide, for the first time, experimental support to the speculative notion of an extended body schema.

1Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e della Visione, Sezione Fisiologia Umana, Strada Le Grazie 8, I-37134, Verona, Italy

2Servizio Recupero e Rieducazione Funzionale, Policlinico Borgo Roma, Verona, Italy

3Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e della Visione, Sezione Neurologia, Verona, Italy

4Corresponding Author: Salvatore Aglioti

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We wish to thank Dr J.C. Marshall and Dr J. Harris for their comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. The financial contribution of MURST and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy, is gratefully acknowledged.

Received 10 September 1996; accepted 24 September 1996

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.