To move or not to move, that is the question! Body schema and non-action oriented body representations: An fMRI meta-analytic study

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Sep;68:37-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 10.


Many studies have attempted to identify the different cognitive components of body representation (BR). Due to methodological issues, the data reported in these studies are often confusing. Here we summarize the fMRI data from previous studies and explore the possibility of a neural segregation between BR supporting actions (body-schema, BS) or not (non-oriented-to-action-body-representation, NA). We performed a general activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of 59 fMRI experiments and two individual meta-analyses to identify the neural substrates of different BR. Body processing involves a wide network of areas in occipital, parietal, frontal and temporal lobes. NA selectively activates the somatosensory primary cortex and the supramarginal gyrus. BS involves the primary motor area and the right extrastriate body area. Our data suggest that motor information and recognition of body parts are fundamental to build BS. Instead, sensory information and processing of the egocentric perspective are more important for NA. In conclusion, our results strongly support the idea that different and segregated neural substrates are involved in body representations orient or not to actions.

Keywords: ALE; Body map; Body representation; Body schema; Extrastriate body area.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Temporal Lobe