IMRF 2023 satellite symposium

June 26, 2023


Room Gery Cori

Pain & vision, a crucial interaction to optimize threat detection and body protection

IMRF 2023 satellite symposium

Brussels (Belgium), Monday 26th of June 2023


Organizers: Valéry Legrain, Monika Halicka & Avgustina Kuzminova

Address: UCLouvain, Room Gery Cori (Laennec tower), Avenue Hippocrate 57, 1200 Brussels (G-map)





Summary: Protecting the body against stimuli that threaten its physical integrity is essential for adaptation and survival. Interactions between somatic and non-somatic stimuli are useful, among other things, to represent and perceive the expanded representation of the body that encompasses its immediate surroundings, namely the peripersonal space (PPS). PPS is thought to create a line of defense to protect the body against physical threats. However, PPS research has mostly focused on the interactions between visual and innocuous tactile stimuli, with very little attention given to the role of nociception and pain in multisensory interactions. Nociception constitutes the prototype of a defensive system because it characterizes the nervous processes specifically involved in the detection of potentially damaging sensory events usually perceived as painful. In addition, the tactile and nociceptive systems have different behavioral purposes since touch optimizes the actions of manipulating harmless objects while nociception facilitates defensive responses to protect the body against threats.

The objective of the symposium is to present an overview of recent studies that investigated the cognitive and physiological mechanisms underlying the interactions between stimuli specifically activating the nociceptive system and visual stimuli approaching or occurring near the body. We will also present studies on the impact of visual-nociceptive interactions on the representation of the body and the excitability of the motor system at spinal, subcortical and cortical levels. These studies use different approaches, from animal models to studies in humans, combining behavioral and neurophysiological methods. Finally, we will present clinical evidence to demonstrate the critical importance of multisensory interactions for both furthering understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic pain and developing treatments for pain relief.

(25 min talk + 5 min questions)

09:15 – 09:40         Welcome & Introduction

09:40 – 10:10        Caitlin Naylor (Department of Psychology, University of Bath, United Kingdom)
                               Seeing, feeling, and changing the limb: variability in manifestations of body perception disturbances and
                               desired changes to the affected limb in complex regional pain syndrome.

10:10 – 10:40         Sara Coppi (Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Sweden)
                               Visual-nociceptive interaction during rubber hand illusion.

10:40 – 11:00         Coffee break

11:00 – 11:30         Avgustina Kuzminova (Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Belgium)
                               Multisensory interactions between nociception and vision through the looking glass.

11:30 – 12:00         Monika Halicka (Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Belgium)
                               Neurophysiological underpinnings of crossmodal interaction between nociception and vision.

12:00 – 12:30         Lieve Filbrich (Health Psychology Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium)
                               Effects of visuo-nociceptive interactions on motor excitability.

12:30 – 13:30         Lunch

13:30 – 14:00         Carlotta Fossataro (Department of Psychology, University of Turin, Italy)
                               Mapping the defensive peripersonal space: the role of vision and proprioception in
                               shaping defensive responses.

14:00 – 14:30         Valéry Legrain (Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain, Belgium)
                                Impact of congenital blindness on pain intensity perception and its spatial representation.

14:30 – 15:00         Sara Touj (CoBra Lab, Brain Imaging Center, McGill University, Canada)
                               Pain hypersensitivity and enhanced olfactory performance is associated with brain
                               plasticity in the blind mouse.

15:00 – 15:20         Coffee break

15:30 – 17:00         Lab visit & demonstration at the Pain Research Lab (Institute of Neuroscience, UCLouvain)

17:00 – …                Aperitif