Mandrigin A & Nudds M (2021) Sameness Of Place and the Senses. In: de Vignemont F, Serino A, Wong HY & Farnè A (eds.) The World at Our Fingertips: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Peripersonal Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 215-230. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-world-at-our-fingertips-9780198851738?q=peripersonal%20space&lang=en&cc=gb#
When we watch a film at the cinema we typically experience the speech we hear as coming from the mouths of the actors depicted on the screen, rather than from the loudspeakers. This is an everyday example of the spatial ventriloquism effect. In this chapter we are interested in the question of what it is for things that we are aware of through different senses to appear to be in a single space, or even—as in spatial ventriloquism—at the same place.
The answer may seem trivial and obvious: all that is required is that we pick out places in the different senses in the same way. However, as Millikan (1991, 2000) has argued, representing a single location in the same way is not the same as representing sameness of location. What we need, either instead of, or as well as, sameness of reference frame, is for sameness of place to be a part of the content of experience.
Empirical evidence suggests that there exist peripersonal representations that encode multisensory information about the region of space that immediately surrounds the body, that contribute to goal directed actions and that play a role in mechanisms that protect the body. The existence of peripersonal representations generates a puzzle for accounts of perception: namely, what is the relation between peripersonal representations that figure in the empirical discussions and our everyday perceptual experience of ourselves and the world? Here we examine whether peripersonal space representations might play a role in out conscious awareness of the spatial relations between entities experienced in vision, audition and touch.