Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Personal space neurons

Do you ever get an annoying feeling when people invade your personal space? Or move without even thinking about it when something is suddenly coming at you? Turns out, we really do live in our own bubbles and we have special neurons, called peripersonal neurons, that are responsible for sensing that space and sending feedback to our brains. It is thought that these neurons are important for sensing approaching dangers as well as avoiding objects and people as we navigate our environment. (I think my peripersonal neurons must be broken)

Whats really cool is that our boundaries can be expanded like a cartoon force field when we are inside objects like cars. This allows us to avoid hitting other objects.

Animals can also sense their personal space. For animals, this is referred to as a flight zone, or “the distance within which a person can approach an animal before it moves away” (Grandin et al., 2014). The flight zone was been studied in wild as well as domesticated animals. Although anyone who owns a dog or cats knows all too well, they often lack consideration of personal space…

Source: r/aww

 

Other Sources:

Guterstam A, Zeberg H, Ozciftci VM, Ehrsson H. The magnetic touch illusion: A perceptual correlate of visuo-tactile integration in peripersonal space. Cognition. 155: 44-56, 2016.
Grandin T, Deesing MJ. Genetics and Behavior During Handling, Restraint, and Herding, in Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals (Second Edition), 2014.

Categories: Comparative Physiology

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