: Bodily self-awareness relies on a constant integration of visual, tactile, proprioceptive, and motor signals. In the 'rubber hand illusion' (RHI), conflicting visuo-tactile stimuli lead to changes in self-awareness. It remains unclear whether other, somatic signals could compensate for the alterations in self-awareness caused by visual information about the body. Here, we used the RHI in combination with robot-mediated self-touch to systematically investigate the role of tactile, proprioceptive and motor signals in maintaining and restoring bodily self-awareness. Participants moved the handle of a leader robot with their right hand and simultaneously received corresponding tactile feedback on their left hand from a follower robot. This self-touch stimulation was performed either before or after the induction of a classical RHI. Across three experiments, active self-touch delivered after-but not before-the RHI, significantly reduced the proprioceptive drift caused by RHI, supporting a restorative role of active self-touch on bodily self-awareness. The effect was not present during involuntary self-touch. Unimodal control conditions confirmed that both tactile and motor components of self-touch were necessary to restore bodily self-awareness. We hypothesize that active self-touch transiently boosts the precision of proprioceptive representation of the touched body part, thus counteracting the visual capture effects that underlie the RHI.

Active self-touch restores bodily proprioceptive spatial awareness following disruption by ‘rubber hand illusion'

Crivelli, Damiano;Bottini, Gabriella;
2024-01-01

Abstract

: Bodily self-awareness relies on a constant integration of visual, tactile, proprioceptive, and motor signals. In the 'rubber hand illusion' (RHI), conflicting visuo-tactile stimuli lead to changes in self-awareness. It remains unclear whether other, somatic signals could compensate for the alterations in self-awareness caused by visual information about the body. Here, we used the RHI in combination with robot-mediated self-touch to systematically investigate the role of tactile, proprioceptive and motor signals in maintaining and restoring bodily self-awareness. Participants moved the handle of a leader robot with their right hand and simultaneously received corresponding tactile feedback on their left hand from a follower robot. This self-touch stimulation was performed either before or after the induction of a classical RHI. Across three experiments, active self-touch delivered after-but not before-the RHI, significantly reduced the proprioceptive drift caused by RHI, supporting a restorative role of active self-touch on bodily self-awareness. The effect was not present during involuntary self-touch. Unimodal control conditions confirmed that both tactile and motor components of self-touch were necessary to restore bodily self-awareness. We hypothesize that active self-touch transiently boosts the precision of proprioceptive representation of the touched body part, thus counteracting the visual capture effects that underlie the RHI.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1497576
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