Those are your legs: The effect of visuo-spatial viewpoint on visuo-tactile integration and body ownership

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© 2015 Pozeg, Galli and Blanke. Experiencing a body part as one's own, i.e., body ownership, depends on the integration of multisensory bodily signals (including visual, tactile, and proprioceptive information) with the visual top-down signals from peripersonal space. Although it has been shown that the visuo-spatial viewpoin t from where the body is seen is an important visual top-down factor for body ownership, different studies have reported diverging results. Furthermore, the role of visuo-spatial viewpoint (sometime also called first-person perspective) has only been studied for hands or the whole body, but not for the lower limbs. We thus investigated whether and how leg visuo-tactile integration and leg ownership depended on the visuo-spatial viewpoint from which the legs were seen and the anatomical similarity of the visual leg stimuli. Using a virtual leg illusion, we tested the strength of visuo-tactile integration of leg stimuli using the crossmodal congruency effect (CCE) as well as the subjective sense of leg ownership (assessed by a questionnaire). Fifteen participants viewed virtual legs or non-corporeal control objects, presented either from their habitual first-person viewpoint or from a viewpoint that was rotated by 90°(third-person viewpoint), while applying visuo-tactile stroking between the participants legs and the virtual legs shown on a head-mounted display. The data show that the first-person visuo-spatial viewpoint significantly boosts the visuo-tactile integration as well as the sense of leg ownership. Moreover, the viewpoint-dependent increment of the visuo-tactile integration was only found in the conditions when participants viewed the virtual legs (absent for control objects). These results confirm the importance of first person visuo-spatial viewpoint for the integration of visuo-tactile stimuli and extend findings from the upper extremity and the trunk to visuo-tactile integration and ownership for the legs.




Pozeg, P., Galli, G., & Blanke, O. (2015). Those are your legs: The effect of visuo-spatial viewpoint on visuo-tactile integration and body ownership. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(NOV).

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