The Space Around Us

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Science  11 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5323, pp. 190-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5323.190

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What kind of maps do we keep inside our minds to chart the space around our bodies? In one area of the brain, some evidence suggests that neurons code for pieces of our environment that are not identified by their absolute position in space, but rather by their position in relation to the body. In this issue on page 239 Grazziano et al. show that this is true for stationary as well as moving stimuli and for stimuli that are not actually seen but just imagined. In their Perspective, Rizzolatti et al. discuss the generality of this phenomenon and propose that maps in the mind may be composed of an array of motor schema.