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Disownership or conflict between vision and proprioception?



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Here is a great study in which the authors investigated something we discussed in our paper Psychologically induced cooling of a specific body part…. We proposed that the cooling and tactile processing impairment we saw might reflect a kind of functional neglect.  This paper by Folegatti et al in PLoS ONE[1] showed a slowing of tactile processing when participants wore visual prisms that shifted the apparent location of the hand but did not affect the sense of ownership.  This paper demonstrates nicely that another possible explanation for our finding described in the PNAS paper could just reflect conflict between vision and proprioception.


[1] Folegatti A, de Vignemont F, Pavani F, Rossetti Y, Farnè A, 2009 Losing One’s Hand: Visual-Proprioceptive Conflict Affects Touch Perception. PLoS ONE 4(9): e6920.

While the sense of bodily ownership has now been widely investigated through the rubber hand illusion (RHI), very little is known about the sense of disownership. It has been hypothesized that the RHI also affects the ownership feelings towards the participant’s own hand, as if the rubber hand replaced the participant’s actual hand. Somatosensory changes observed in the participants’ hand while experiencing the RHI have been taken as evidence for disownership of their real hand. Here we propose a theoretical framework to disambiguate whether such somatosensory changes are to be ascribed to the disownership of the real hand or rather to the anomalous visuo-proprioceptive conflict experienced by the participant during the RHI…

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