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      Demand Characteristics Confound the Rubber Hand Illusion

      Collabra: Psychology
      University of California Press

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          Touching a rubber hand: feeling of body ownership is associated with activity in multisensory brain areas.

          In the "rubber-hand illusion," the sight of brushing of a rubber hand at the same time as brushing of the person's own hidden hand is sufficient to produce a feeling of ownership of the fake hand. We shown previously that this illusion is associated with activity in the multisensory areas, most notably the ventral premotor cortex (Ehrsson et al., 2004). However, it remains to be demonstrated that this illusion does not simply reflect the dominant role of vision and that the premotor activity does not reflect a visual representation of an object near the hand. To address these issues, we introduce a somatic rubber-hand illusion. The experimenter moved the blindfolded participant's left index finger so that it touched the fake hand, and simultaneously, he touched the participant's real right hand, synchronizing the touches as perfectly as possible. After approximately 9.7 s, this stimulation elicited an illusion that one was touching one's own hand. We scanned brain activity during this illusion and two control conditions, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Activity in the ventral premotor cortices, intraparietal cortices, and the cerebellum was associated with the illusion of touching one's own hand. Furthermore, the rated strength of the illusion correlated with the degree of premotor and cerebellar activity. This finding suggests that the activity in these areas reflects the detection of congruent multisensory signals from one's own body, rather than of visual representations. We propose that this could be the mechanism for the feeling of body ownership.
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            Voluntary Facial Action Generates Emotion-Specific Autonomic Nervous System Activity

            Four experiments were conducted to determine whether voluntarily produced emotional facial configurations are associated with differentiated patterns of autonomic activity, and if so, how this might be mediated. Subjects received muscle-by-muscle instructions and coaching to produce facial configurations for anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise while heart rate, skin conductance, finger temperature, and somatic activity were monitored. Results indicated that voluntary facial activity produced significant levels of subjective experience of the associated emotion, and that autonomic distinctions among emotions: (a) were found both between negative and positive emotions and among negative emotions, (b) were consistent between group and individual subjects' data, (c) were found in both male and female subjects, (d) were found in both specialized (actors, scientists) and nonspecialized populations, (e) were stronger when the voluntary facial configurations most closely resembled actual emotional expressions, and (f) were stronger when experience of the associated emotion was reported. The capacity of voluntary facial activity to generate emotion-specific autonomic activity: (a) did not require subjects to see facial expressions (either in a mirror or on an experimenter's face), and (b) could not be explained by differences in the difficulty of making the expressions or by differences in concomitant somatic activity.
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              The Butcher's Tongue Illusion.

              We report two experiments, based on a novel variant of the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI), in which tactile stimulation is referred to an artificial (out-of-body) tongue. In the experiments reported here the participant's tongue was stimulated while they looked at a mirrored dummy tongue. On average, the participants agreed with the statement that they felt as if they had been touched in the location where they saw the rubber tongue being touched (experiment 1), thus demonstrating visual capture. When the external tongue was illuminated with a laser pointer (experiment 2), a significant proportion of the participants reported feeling either tactile or thermal stimulation on their own tongue. These results therefore demonstrate that the multisensory integration of visual, tactile, and proprioceptive information that gives rise to the RHI can be extended to the tongue (a body part that is rarely seen directly).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Collabra: Psychology
                University of California Press
                2474-7394
                January 08 2020
                April 07 2020
                : 6
                : 1
                : 22
                Article
                10.1525/collabra.325
                7a6d99c7-50d6-45e2-8f4e-5c234fb56c94
                © 2020

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