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Response to [A reivew of Shaun Gallagher, …] by de Vignemont



  1. The body can be viewed from many different perspectives (e.g., semantic, emotional, spatial, motor, tactile, visual, proprioceptive, etc.)
  2. “A body image consists of a system of percpetions, attitudes, and beliefs pertaining to one’s own body. In contrast, a body schema is a system of sensory-motor capacities that function without awareness or the necessity of perceptual monitoring.”
  3. Differences between body schema and body image.

    Body Image

    Body Schema

    Available to consciousness, even if only at the margin


    Personal level

    Sub-personal level

    Sense of ownership (my body)


    Abstract and partial

    Coherent and holistic

    Distinguished from the environment

    In interaction with the environment

    Not involved in action, except in some cases

    Involved in action

    Deficits in personal neglect

    Deficits in deafferentation

  4. Common features of body image and body schema: 1) they are both multimodal (interaction between vision, proprioception and touch)
  5. The body schema is for action and the body image is for everything that is not action
  6. There is a competing line of thought that suggests that there are three kinds of body representation: sensori-motor (or body schema), visuo-spatial (or body surface) and semantic (or body image)
  7. Two orders of body scehma: the first-order bodyscehma represents the perceptual features of one’s own body that are necessary to know if one wants to move; the higher-order body scehma represents a functional map of the body.
  8. Mind, body, and world mutually interact and influence one another to promote an organism’s adaptive success.
  9. The way our body allows us to interact with the environment structures the way we perceive the self, the world and the others.
  10. How the body shapes the mind: 1) the organic body (organic functions decdie cognition); 2) the spatial body (the body provides a perspecive on the world); 3) the body schema; 4) the affective body (e.g., emotions).


  1. Extending “spatial body”, body is not only a reference point w.r.t. the environment and 3D space, it can also serve as part of the environment that we are familiar with. Actually this meets the multi-modal inputs that make body schema possible.
  2. All the body schema and body image theory relate not only ot body-centric interaction but also to a wider range of interactions, esp. in ubiquitous computing.

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

Making an Impact in Your Life


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