Bodily Ownership: Tactile, Visual and Motor Mechanisms

How do we know that our body and its parts belong to us? Observations from neurological syndromes and recent experiments in the cognitive neurosciences suggest that the sense of bodily ownership is a crucial component underlying self-consciousness in humans. This thesis investigates this sense of "mineness" in four experiments. The results show that bodily ownership can be systematically and measurably altered locally at the level of fingers (Study 1 and 2), hands (Study 2) and faces (Study 3), and also at a global level for the entire body (Study 4) We highlight the diversity of processes underlying the sense of bodily ownership, including the importance of multisensory integration, self-directed touch, visual familiarity with one's mirror reflection, and visuo-kinesthetic interactions. Finally, we draw parallels from these findings to clinical research.


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