The Developing Bodily Self: How Posture Constrains Body Representation in Childhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Janna M Gottwald
  • Laura-Ashleigh Bird
  • Samantha Keenaghan
  • Clare Diamond
  • Eliana Zampieri
  • Haleema Tosodduk
  • Dorothy Cowie

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Durham
  • Univ London Goldsmiths Coll


Adults' body representation is constrained by multisensory information and knowledge of the body such as its possible postures. This study (N = 180) tested for similar constraints in children. Using the rubber hand illusion with adults and 6- to 7-year olds, we measured proprioceptive drift (an index of hand localization) and ratings of felt hand ownership. The fake hand was either congruent or incongruent with the participant's own. Across ages, congruency of posture and visual-tactile congruency yielded greater drift toward the fake hand. Ownership ratings were higher with congruent visual-tactile information, but unaffected by posture. Posture constrains body representation similarly in children and adults, suggesting that children have sensitive, robust mechanisms for maintaining a sense of bodily self.

Bibliographic note

© 2020 The Authors. Child Development published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Research in Child Development.


Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Development
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2020