Affective Touch by Others Determines how we Perceive our Own Body

Katerina Fotopoulou

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

Annika Reinersmann

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...]

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...]

Of moose and maple syrup – a Canadian visits BodyinMind

Lorimer Moseley and David Walton in the BiM lab Rubber hand illusion

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...]

Disownership or conflict between vision and proprioception?

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 … [Read more...]

Rubber hand illusion makes your real hand go colder

rubber hand setup

Making people think that the rubber hand in front of them is theirs makes their real hand colder. We used the rubber hand illusion to do this. It means we can trick our brains into believing something that's not real with implications for those people who suffer from complex regional pain syndrome who have a distorted sense of their limb. Here's … [Read more...]