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The Effect of Visual Capture Towards Subjective Embodiment Within the Full Body Illusion

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JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 31 Dec 2018
DatePublished (current) - 27 Feb 2019
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)2889
Original languageEnglish


Typically, multisensory illusion paradigms emphasise the importance of synchronous visuotactile integration to induce subjective embodiment towards another body. However, the extent to which embodiment is due to the 'visual capture' of congruent visuoproprioceptive information alone remains unclear. Thus, across two experiments (total N = 80), we investigated how mere visual observation of a mannequin body, viewed from a first-person perspective, influenced subjective embodiment independently from concomitant visuotactile integration. Moreover, we investigated whether slow, affective touch on participants' own, unseen body (without concomitant touch on the seen mannequin) disrupted visual capture effects to a greater degree than fast, non-affective touch. In total, 40% of participants experienced subjective embodiment towards the mannequin body following mere visual observation, and this effect was significantly higher than conditions which included touch to participants own, unseen body. The velocity of the touch that participants received (affective/non-affective) did not differ in modulating visual capture effects. Furthermore, the effects of visual capture and perceived pleasantness of touch was not modulated by subthreshold eating disorder psychopathology. Overall, this study suggests that congruent visuoproprioceptive cues can be sufficient to induce subjective embodiment of a whole body, in the absence of visuotactile integration and beyond mere confabulatory responses.

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