Body Schema Illusions: A Study of the Link between the Rubber Hand and Kinesthetic Mirror Illusions through Individual Differences

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Abstract

Background. The well-known rubber hand paradigm induces an illusion by having participants feel the touch applied to a fake hand. In parallel, the kinesthetic mirror illusion elicits illusions of movement by moving the reflection of a participant's arm. Experimental manipulation of sensory inputs leads to emergence of these multisensory illusions. There are strong conceptual similarities between these two illusions, suggesting that they rely on the same neurophysiological mechanisms, but this relationship has never been investigated. Studies indicate that participants differ in their sensitivity to these illusions, which provides a possibility for studying the relationship between these two illusions. Method. We tested 36 healthy participants to confirm that there exist reliable individual differences in sensitivity to the two illusions and that participants sensitive to one illusion are also sensitive to the other. Results. The results revealed that illusion sensitivity was very stable across trials and that individual differences in sensitivity to the kinesthetic mirror illusion were highly related to individual differences in sensitivity to the rubber hand illusion. Conclusions. Overall, these results support the idea that these two illusions may be both linked to a transitory modification of body schema, wherein the most sensitive people have the most malleable body schema.

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Metral, M., Gonthier, C., Luyat, M., & Guerraz, M. (2017). Body Schema Illusions: A Study of the Link between the Rubber Hand and Kinesthetic Mirror Illusions through Individual Differences. BioMed Research International, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6937328

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