D’Amour et al. 2015. “Bodily illusions disrupt tactile sensations”

Abstract. To accurately interpret tactile information, the brain needs to have an accurate representation of the body to which to refer the sensations. Despite this, body representation has only recently been incorporated into the study of tactile perception. Here, we investigate whether distortions of body representation affect tactile sensations. We perceptually altered the length of the arm and the width of the waist using a tendon vibration illusion and measured spatial acuity and sensitivity. Surprisingly, we found reduction in both tactile acuity and sensitivity thresholds when the arm or waist was perceptually altered, which indicates a general disruption of low-level tactile processing. We postulate that the disruptive changes correspond to the preliminary stage as the body representation starts to change and may give new insights into sensory processing in people with long-term or sudden abnormal body representation such as are found in eating disorders or following amputation.


D’Amour S, Pritchett LM, Harris LR (2015) “Bodily illusions disrupt tactile sensations” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 41(1): 42-49

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