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06-02-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2016

Psychological Research 2/2016

Application of the rubber hand illusion paradigm: comparison between upper and lower limbs

Psychological Research > Uitgave 2/2016
Mareike Flögel, Karl Theodor Kalveram, Oliver Christ, Joachim Vogt


The “rubber hand illusion (RHI)” is a perceptual illusion, which allows the integration of artificial limbs into the body representation of a person by means of combined visual and tactile stimulation. The illusion has been frequently replicated but always concerning the upper limbs. The present study verified an analog illusion that can be called the “rubber foot illusion” (RFI). In a conjoint experiment using both a rubber hand and a rubber foot, brushstrokes were applied to the respective real and rubber limb placed alongside the real one. However, only the artificial limb’s handling was visible. The brushstrokes were given either synchronously, with a delay of ±0.5 s, or without tactile stimulation of the real limb. Questionnaire data and the proprioceptive drift towards the rubber limb (determined by calling on the subjects to show where they locate their unseen limb) defined the illusion strength. Results revealed that the illusion was induced in both limbs with comparable strength, but only in the synchronous condition.

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