The experience of a bodily self is a fundamental aspect of our biological condition, yet such an essential feature of the self can be temporarily altered through experimental exposure to conflicting multisensory inputs. While such manipulations in healthy participants are commonly used to induce the sensation that an artificial or virtual limb or entire body belongs to them, through this experiment we examine to which degree a temporal mismatch between multisensory and sensorimotor signals can induce a feeling of disownership over one’s own body. By using an immersive-video-based paradigm and virtual reality technologies, visitors of the exhibition can observe their own body together with mismatching visual and tactile or motor stimulation. Preliminary results using this setup suggest that disownership consistently increases with the delay. Such feeling partly corroborates what individuals with specific neurological or psychiatric disorders report and might thus help to advance understanding of these disorders.
Prof. Dr. Bigna Lenggenhager is Professor for Cognitive Neuropsychology with Focus on Body, Self and Plasticity at the University of Zurich. More