Research Topic

Bridging the Theories of Affordances and Limb Apraxia

About this Research Topic

Limb apraxia refers to a range of higher-order motor disorders that result from acquired brain diseases affecting the performance of skilled, learned movements.
According to the most recent definition it consists of the disturbance of one or more of the three domains of motor behavior: ...

Limb apraxia refers to a range of higher-order motor disorders that result from acquired brain diseases affecting the performance of skilled, learned movements.
According to the most recent definition it consists of the disturbance of one or more of the three domains of motor behavior: (i) imitation of meaningless gestures, (ii) pantomime of meaningful gestures, and (iii) disturbance of interaction with objects.
The theories of affordances represent a perspective of integration for perceptual, cognitive and motor functions. According to them, the perception of an object, the conduction of mental operations on it, and the execution of motor actions with or towards it are not separate functions. Instead, perceiving and processing objects also imply the simulation of motor actions associated with them, and vice versa, explicit motor interactions with objects also activate representations of other non-motoric features.
Research on apraxia and on affordances has traditionally been conducted separately. However, as they both critically rely on object-directed motor behavior, a cross-domain investigation would improve knowledge in both fields, as already testified by the increasing number of publications. Indeed, the aim of the Research Topic is to put together contributions from both research fields to (i) highlight the role that affordance mechanisms can have in explaining apraxia deficits and conversely (ii) clarify how studies on apraxia have implications for theories of affordances.
Recent studies highlight that the behavioral and neural correlates of “simple” manipulation of objects differ from those subtending their functional use. As a result, one main question of this topic issue is: do tasks in which manipulation vs. functional use of objects is stressed produce differences in motor performance in patients affected by apraxia, within each of the three above mentioned domains, as well as in healthy subjects?
Other questions are: What is the state of the art in understanding the brain mechanisms subtending motor affordances? How far can investigations on brain lesions causing disturbances of tool use help in testing the theories of affordances?
Furthermore, we encourage the submission of contributions proposing new therapeutic approaches to apraxia that integrate motor and cognitive domains: How effective is stimulating the activation of motor affordances for the rehabilitation of patients affected by apraxia? Can the effectiveness of such therapeutic approaches be measured on a quantitative basis?
While authors must ensure that papers fall within the scope of the section, as expressed in its mission statement, they are encouraged to draw from experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neurology, neuro-rehabilitation, neuroimaging, kinematics and robotics, where appropriate, so as to enrich their papers. Papers can feature original research as well as theoretical contributions, commentaries and meta-analyses.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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