Pavani F, Zampini M, 2007, "The role of hand size in the fake-hand illusion paradigm" Perception 36(10) 1547 – 1554
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The role of hand size in the fake-hand illusion paradigm
Francesco Pavani, Massimiliano Zampini
Received 9 October 2006, in revised form 4 April 2007
Abstract. When a hand (either real or fake) is stimulated in synchrony with our own hand concealed from view, the felt position of our own hand can be biased toward the location of the seen hand. This intriguing phenomenon relies on the brain’s ability to detect statistical correlations in the multisensory inputs (ie visual, tactile, and proprioceptive), but it is also modulated by the pre-existing representation of one’s own body. Nonetheless, researchers appear to have accepted the assumption that the size of the seen hand does not matter for this illusion to occur. Here we used a real-time video image of the participant’s own hand to elicit the illusion, but we varied the hand size in the video image so that the seen hand was either reduced, veridical, or enlarged in comparison to the participant’s own hand. The results showed that visible-hand size modulated the illusion, which was present for veridical and enlarged images of the hand, but absent when the visible hand was reduced. These findings indicate that very specific aspects of our own body image (ie hand size) can constrain the multisensory modulation of the body schema highlighted by the fake-hand illusion paradigm. In addition, they suggest an asymmetric tendency to acknowledge enlarged (but not reduced) images of body parts within our body representation.
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