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The role of expectation in multisensory body representation – neural evidence

Ferri, F and Ambrosini, E and Pinti, P and Merla, A and Costantini, M (2017) 'The role of expectation in multisensory body representation – neural evidence.' European Journal of Neuroscience, 46 (3). 1897 - 1905. ISSN 0953-816X

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Sensory events contribute to body ownership, the feeling that the body belongs to me. However, the encoding of sensory events is not only reactive, but also proactive in that our brain generates prediction about forthcoming stimuli. In previous studies, we have shown that prediction of sensory events is a sufficient condition to induce the sense of body ownership. In this study, we investigated the underlying neural mechanisms. Participants were seated with their right arm resting upon a table just below another smaller table. Hence, the real hand was hidden from the participant's view and a life-sized rubber model of a right hand was placed on the small table in front of them. Participants observed a wooden plank while approaching – without touching – the rubber hand. We measured the phenomenology of the illusion by means of questionnaire. Neural activity was recorded by means of near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Results showed higher activation of multisensory parietal cortices in the rubber hand illusion induced by touch expectation. Furthermore, such activity was correlated with the subjective feeling of owning the rubber hand. Our results enrich current models of body ownership suggesting that our multisensory brain regions generate prediction on what could be my body and what could not. This finding might have interesting implications in all those cases in which body representation is altered, anorexia, bulimia nervosa and obesity, among others.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: fNIRS, multisensory integration, rubber hand illusion, sensory prediction, sensory processes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2017 08:24
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2018 01:00

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