What’s This Research About?

The authors looked at how the body functions in space and how that relates to pain and dance performance. The cortical body matrix theory is at the core of this review about self-localization and the disruptions that occur when pain is present.

About The Author


Jenn Pilotti

TITLE: Integrating Self-Localization, Proprioception, Pain, and Performance


PUBLICATION: Journal of Dance Medicine & Science

DATE: March 2017

AUTHORS: Valeria Bellan, Ph.D., Sarah B. Wallwork, B.Physio.(Hons.), Alberto Gallace, Ph.D., Charles Spence, Ph.D., and G. Lorimer Moseley, D.Sc., Ph.D.

Self-localization: Monitoring the space around the body 

Proprioception: The awareness of the body and where it is in space. Proprioception includes the sense of limb position and movement, the sense of tension or force, the sense of effort, and the sense of balance. Most aspects of proprioception are unconscious and some are conscious. 

Functional plasticity: Changes in properties of the brain cells involved in a specific activity that is practiced. 

Structural plasticity: Changes in volume or density in cortical grey matter, specifically in areas that subserve the activity.

Peripersonal space: The space that surrounds the body

Body map: A concept that the brain holds maps, or templates, of our body, in the form of networks of brain cells. These internally held representations constitute reference points for adjustments and commands involving the body.

Interoceptive abilities: The ability to efficiently interpret body signals

Body schema: Comprises the sensorimotor representations that guide action

Body image: Comprises all of the other bodily representations—i.e., those that are not concerned with action

Neuromatrix theory: According to the neuromatrix theory, there is an “anatomical substrate of the body-self,” represented by a large and widespread network of neurons that create loops between the thalamus and the cortex and between the cortex and the limbic system. These loops are proposed to subserve both the control of movement and the emergence of pain. It is sometimes criticized for being too conceptual. 

Cortical body matrix theory: Still a conceptual theory, it is an evolution of the neuromatrix theory which posits “a multisensory representation of peripersonal space and of the space directly around the body”. 

Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS): Painful disorder related to multiple system dysfunctions

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