Development of space perception in relation to the maturation of the motor system in infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Valentina Sclafani, Elizabeth A Simpson, Stephen J. Suomi, Pier Francesco Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


To act on the environment, organisms must perceive object locations in relation to their body. Several neuroscientific studies provide evidence of neural circuits that selectively represent space within reach (i.e., peripersonal) and space outside of reach (i.e., extrapersonal). However, the developmental emergence of these space representations remains largely unexplored. We investigated the development of space coding in infant macaques and found that they exhibit different motor strategies and hand configurations depending on the objects' size and location. Reaching-grasping improved from 2 to 4 weeks of age, suggesting a broadly defined perceptual body schema at birth, modified by the acquisition and refinement of motor skills through early sensorimotor experience, enabling the development of a mature capacity for coding space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Body schema
  • Motor development
  • Peripersonal space
  • Premotor cortex
  • Space representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this