Illusory ownership of a virtual child body causes overestimation of object sizes and implicit attitude changes

Domna Banakou, Raphaela Groten, Mel Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An illusory sensation of ownership over a surrogate limb or whole body can be induced through specific forms of multisensory stimulation, such as synchronous visuotactile tapping on the hidden real and visible rubber hand in the rubber hand illusion. Such methods have been used to induce ownership over a manikin and a virtual body that substitute the real body, as seen from first-person perspective, through a head-mounted display. However, the perceptual and behavioral consequences of such transformed body ownership have hardly been explored. In Exp. 1, immersive virtual reality was used to embody 30 adults as a 4-y-old child (condition C), and as an adult body scaled to the same height as the child (condition A), experienced from the first-person perspective, and with virtual and real body movements synchronized. The result was a strong body-ownership illusion equally for C and A. Moreover there was an overestimation of the sizes of objects compared with a nonembodied baseline, which was significantly greater for C compared with A. An implicit association test showed that C resulted in significantly faster reaction times for the classification of self with child-like compared with adult-like attributes. Exp. 2 with an additional 16 participants extinguished the ownership illusion by using visuomotor asynchrony, with all else equal. The size-estimation and implicit association test differences between C and A were also extinguished. We conclude that there are perceptual and probably behavioral correlates of body-ownership illusions that occur as a function of the type of body in which embodiment occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12846-12851
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number31
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 30 2013

Keywords

  • Body awareness
  • Perceptual illusion
  • Self consciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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