A Lifespan View on Modulation of Peripersonal and Extrapersonal Reach Space via Tool Use

  • Priscila Caçola University of Texas at Arlington - cacola@uta.edu
Keywords: tool use, lifespan, space perception, space recognition, estimation of reach


This study examined lifespan characteristics associated with tool use in the modulation of peripersonal and extrapersonal space. Three age groups: Children (7-12 years), Young Adults (19-23 years), and Older Adults (65-92 years) were presented with two experiments using an estimation of reach paradigm involving arm and tool conditions and a switch-block of the opposite condition. Experiment 1 tested Arm and Tool (20 cm length) estimation and switch-block conditions (from Arm to Tool and Tool to Arm) and found a significant effect for Age and Condition (ps <.05). Post-hoc analysis for Age indicated that children were significantly less accurate than young and older adults. Analysis for condition revealed significant differences for the Arm Switch-Block condition (Retraction) when compared to Tool and Arm estimations. Experiment 2 was similar to Experiment 1 with the exception of using a 40 cm length tool. Results were analogous to those found in Experiment 1. Considered together, these results hint that: (1) the ability to be as accurate when estimating reach with a tool and arm is present across the lifespan, (2) development and decline of action representation follow distinct paths, and (3) retraction of space seems to be more difficult than extension.


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