Children's Responses to the Rubber-Hand Illusion Reveal Dissociable Pathways in Body Representation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of London
  • University of Oxford
  • Sensorimotor Development Research Unit

Abstract

The bodily self is constructed from multisensory information. However, little is known of the relation between multisensory development and the emerging sense of self. We investigated this question by measuring the strength of the rubber-hand illusion in young children (4 to 9 years old) and adults. Intermanual pointing showed that children were as sensitive as adults to visual-tactile synchrony cues for hand position, which indicates that a visual-tactile pathway to the bodily self matures by at least 4 years of age. However, regardless of synchrony cues, children's perceived hand position was closer to the rubber hand than adults' perceived hand position was. This indicates a second, later-maturing process based on visual-proprioceptive information. Furthermore, explicit feelings of embodiment were related only to the visual-tactile process. These findings demonstrate two dissociable processes underlying body representation in early life, and they call into question current models of body representation and ownership in adulthood.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-769
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • cognitive development, human body, perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas