Affective Touch by Others Determines how we Perceive our Own Body

Just why does the touch of a loved one feel so good? The answer may have something to do with the fact that slow, gentle touches from another person (like the caress of a loved one) can enhance our sense of self – specifically, the feeling that our body is our own (i.e. the sense of body ownership). This sense of body ownership seems indubitable; … [Read more...]

Preserved ability to integrate a rubber hand indicates intact multisensory integration in CRPS

To the avid BiM reader the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) is probably well-known and old hat (for the not-so avid reader see below*). It is a popular paradigm because it can be used to investigate a) functionality of multisensory integration in corresponding brain areas and b) pre-existing mental representations of the body, i.e. body image [1]. We … [Read more...]

Learning and Chronic pain part III

As we have discussed in part 1 and 2 of this series of posts, there is some evidence that classical conditioned responses play a role in chronic pain (Flor and Birbaumer 1994; Schneider, Palomba et al. 2004; Klinger, Matter et al. 2010). We have discussed the work of Flor and others showing that injury response systems (such as motor and autonomic) … [Read more...]

A haptic glove and a head-tracking software – illusory ownership induced without touch

Our last rubber hand illusion paper attracted this comment from one of the reviewers: ‘it would take something very special to get yet another study on the rubber hand illusion into a journal like this one’. We were pretty sympathetic to the reviewer because there really are a tonne of them out there.  Here is one that was actually published a year … [Read more...]

When seeing it is enough – could a rubber hand help you explain pain?

I reckon the rubber hand illusion is a great way to provide hard evidence that the brain produces our sensations according to the availability of credible information, not just according to sensory input from the body. I use the rubber hand illusion to do this, but i think there is a version of the rubber hand illusion that might do it better. I … [Read more...]

A virtual arm you think is yours, can you imagine!

Our group has done a few rubber hand illusion experiments, not that we are really serious players in this area – if you want to take part in a rubber hand illusion experiment, start loitering around UCL – it is almost certain someone there will be doing an such an experiment.  The brain mechanisms that underpin the rubber hand illusion are almost … [Read more...]

Giving him the (fake) finger. Introducing the plastic finger illusion.

There has been a lot of talk and fuss about the rubber hand illusion, since Botvinick and Cohen first described it.[1] In short, by stroking the real hand, which is out of view, and a fake rubber hand, which is in view, at exactly the same time and in synch, one can induce the illusion that it is the touch on the rubber hand that one really feels.  … [Read more...]

Giving way to the right – the Brits could be onto something

Some time ago we posted an article that showed that a unicellular organism called slimeball could solve the planning of the British rail network better than the Brits did. Now it might be time to smirk on the other side of our face because, as Sarah Wallwork, the tireless Honours student who had the misfortune of getting me as a supervisor, will … [Read more...]

Of moose and maple syrup – a Canadian visits BodyinMind

I had the honour of spending the past week with the brilliant and extremely pleasant folks of the Body in Mind group at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).  The type of work going on here is the definition of cutting edge in my opinion, and I’m sure I was only introduced to a small part of it.  I’m calling it right here right now, look out for … [Read more...]

Seeing your own body reduces pain caused by laser

In a paper in Journal of Neuroscience by Longo et al,[1] from by Patrick Haggard's group (in case you didn't know, Haggard is a very big wig in the whole sensory processing/body image stuff), they describe an experiment that I reckon is cool: they used painful laser stimuli and compared pain evoked when supposedly normal healthy volunteers (see our … [Read more...]