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      Neural signatures of body ownership: a sensory network for bodily self-consciousness.

      Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)

      Adult, Awareness, physiology, Body Image, Female, Hand, Humans, Male, Nerve Net, Neurons, Ownership, Touch, Visual Perception

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          Abstract

          Body ownership refers to the special perceptual status of one's own body, which makes bodily sensations seem unique to oneself. We studied the neural correlates of body ownership by controlling whether an external object was accepted as part of the body or not. In the rubber hand illusion (RHI), correlated visuotactile stimulation causes a fake hand to be perceived as part of one's own body. In the present study, we distinguished between the causes (i.e., multisensory stimulation) and the effect (i.e., the feeling of ownership) of the RHI. Participants watched a right or a left rubber hand being touched either synchronously or asynchronously with respect to their own unseen right hand. A quantifiable correlate of the RHI is a shift in the perceived position of the subject's hand toward the rubber hand. We used positron emission tomography to identify brain areas whose activity correlated with this proprioceptive measure of body ownership. Body ownership was related to activity in the right posterior insula and the right frontal operculum. Conversely, when the rubber hand was not attributed to the self, activity was observed in the contralateral parietal cortex, particularly the somatosensory cortex. These structures form a network that plays a fundamental role in linking current sensory stimuli to one's own body and thus also in self-consciousness.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          17138596
          10.1093/cercor/bhl131

          Chemistry

          Adult, Awareness, physiology, Body Image, Female, Hand, Humans, Male, Nerve Net, Neurons, Ownership, Touch, Visual Perception

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