The role of the dynamic body schema in praxis: Evidence from primary progressive apraxia

Laurel J. Buxbaum, Tania Giovannetti, David Libon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


On an influential model of limb praxis, ideomotor apraxia results from damage to stored gesture representations or disconnection of representations from sensory input or motor output (Heilman and Gonzalez Rothi, 1993; Gonzalez Rothi et al., 1991). We report data from a patient with progressive ideomotor limb apraxia which cannot be readily accommodated by this model. The patient, BG, is profoundly impaired in gesturing to command, to sight of object, and to imitation, but gestures nearly normally with tool in hand and recognizes gestures relatively well. In addition, performance is profoundly impaired on imitation of meaningless gestures and on tasks requiring spatiomotor transformations of body-position information. We provide evidence that BG's apraxia is largely attributable to impairments external to the stored gesture system in procedures coding the dynamic positions of the body parts of self and others; that is, the body schema. We propose a model of a dynamic, interactive praxis system subserved by posterior parietal cortex in which stored representational elements, when present, provide 'top-down' support to spatiomotor procedures computed on-line. In addition to accounting for BG's performance, this model accommodates a common pattern of ideomotor apraxia more readily than competing accounts. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-191
Number of pages26
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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