Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Not Listed


Growing evidence indicates that perceptual-motor codes may be associated with and influenced by actual bodily states. Following a spinal cord injury (SCI), for example, individuals exhibit reduced visual sensitivity to biological motion. However, a dearth of direct evidence exists about whether profound alterations in sensorimotor traffic between the body and brain influence audio-motor representations. We tested 20 wheelchair-bound individuals with lower skeletal-level SCI who were unable to feel and move their lower limbs, but have retained upper limb function. In a two-choice, matching-to-sample auditory discrimination task, the participants were asked to determine which of two action sounds matched a sample action sound presented previously. We tested aural discrimination ability using sounds that arose from wheelchair, upper limb, lower limb, and animal actions. Our results indicate that an inability to move the lower limbs did not lead to impairment in the discrimination of lower limb-related action sounds in SCI patients. Importantly, patients with SCI discriminated wheelchair sounds more quickly than individuals with comparable auditory experience (i.e. physical therapists) and inexperienced, able-bodied subjects. Audio-motor associations appear to be modified and enhanced to incorporate external salient tools that now represent extensions of their body schemas.

Source Citation

Pazzaglia, M., Galli, G., Lewis, J. W., Scivoletto, G., Giannini, A. M., & Molinari, M. (2018). Embodying functionally relevant action sounds in patients with spinal cord injury. Scientific Reports, 8(1).


Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre- ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per- mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

© The Author(s) 2018



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.