Previous data from single-case and small group studies have suggested distinctions among structural, conceptual, and online sensorimotor representations of the human body. We developed a battery of tasks to further examine the prevalence and anatomic substrates of these body representations. The battery was administered to 70 stroke patients. Fifty-one percent of the patients were impaired relative to controls on at least one body representation measure. Further, principal components analysis of the patient data as well as direct comparisons of patient and control performance suggested a triple dissociation between measures of the 3 putative body representations. Consistent with previous distinctions between the “what” and “how” pathways, lesions of the left temporal lobe were most consistently associated with impaired performance on tasks assessing knowledge of the shape or lexical-semantic information about the body, whereas lesions of the dorsolateral frontal and parietal regions resulted in impaired performance on tasks requiring on-line coding of body posture.

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Author notes

Now at Cazenovia College, New York