Changing motor perception by sensorimotor conflicts and body ownership
Experimentally induced sensorimotor conflicts can result in a loss of the feeling of control over a movement (sense of agency). These findings are typically interpreted in terms of a forward model in which the predicted sensory consequences of the movement are compared with the observed sensory consequences. In the present study we investigated whether a mismatch between movements and their observed sensory consequences does not only result in a reduced feeling of agency, but may affect motor perception as well. Visual feedback of participants' finger movements was manipulated using virtual reality to be anatomically congruent or incongruent to the performed movement. Participants made a motor perception judgment (i.e. which finger did you move?) or a visual perceptual judgment (i.e. which finger did you see moving?). Subjective measures of agency and body ownership were also collected. Seeing movements that were visually incongruent to the performed movement resulted in a lower accuracy for motor perception judgments, but not visual perceptual judgments. This effect was modified by rotating the virtual hand (Exp.2), but not by passively induced movements (Exp.3). Hence, sensorimotor conflicts can modulate the perception of one's motor actions, causing viewed "alien actions" to be felt as one's own.