Video ergo sum: manipulating bodily self-consciousness

Humans normally experience the conscious self as localized within their bodily borders. This spatial unity may break down in certain neurological conditions such as out-of-body experiences, leading to a striking disturbance of bodily self-consciousness. On the basis of these clinical data, we designed an experiment that uses conflicting visual-somatosensory input in virtual reality to disrupt the spatial unity between the self and the body. We found that during multisensory conflict, participants felt as if a virtual body seen in front of them was their own body and mislocalized themselves toward the virtual body, to a position outside their bodily borders. Our results indicate that spatial unity and bodily self-consciousness can be studied experimentally and are based on multisensory and cognitive processing of bodily information.


Published in:
Science, 317, 5841, 1096-9
Year:
2007
Keywords:
Note:
Comment in: Science;317(5841):1020-1 / Science;318(5854):1240-2
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 Record created 2010-11-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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