Rubber hands in space: the role of distance and relative position in the rubber hand illusion.

Affiliation

School of Psychology, University of Reading Malaysia, Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia. [Email]

Abstract

The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is a perceptual phenomenon in which participants experience ownership over a fake model hand through synchronous visuotactile stimulation. Several studies have shown that the illusion occurs only when both hands are in close proximity to each other. In the present study, we systematically examined the role of relative position (lateral, distal) and distance (13-75 cm) of the model hand (with respect to participants' real hand) on illusion experience across both lateral and distal positions. Furthermore, we also compared different facets of the subjective illusion experience; the experience of the model hand being part of one's body (i.e., ownership) and the perceptual fusion of vision and touch (i.e., referral of touch). In two experiments we observed indications for a stronger illusion experiences in distal compared to lateral positions of identical distances, indicating that the illusory effects may vary as a function of the relative position of the hand. Our results also showed that manipulations of distance differently modulated both facets of the illusion. While ownership was restricted to near distances, referral of touch sensations remained stable at farther distances. These results are interpreted in relation to variations in sensory weighting across different planes.

Keywords

Multisensory integration,Ownership,Peri-personal space,Referral of touch,Rubber hand illusion,