Avgustina Kuzminova (PhD student, FRIA)
Localizing pain is an important function as it allows detecting which part of the body is being hurt. It also helps to identify in the space around the body which stimulus is producing the damage. Behavioral studies suggest that the brain has the ability to map nociceptive stimuli according to different spatial representations. The somatotopic representation constitutes an anatomical map of the body surface based on point-by-point correspondences of particular areas of the body to specific groups of neurons in the brain. The spatiotopic representation considers the relative position and movement of the body part on which the stimulus is applied, and, therefore, uses external space as reference frame. The aim of the present research project is to characterize in humans the time course of the neural processes underlying the spatial mapping of nociceptive inputs using electroencephalography. In order to test the influence of early sensory experience in the development of spatial mapping abilities, data of normally sighted participants will be contrasted with those of congenitally blind people.