Impact of Visuomotor Feedback on the Embodiment of Virtual Hands Detached from the Body

02/27/2020
by   Sofia Seinfeld, et al.
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It has been shown that mere observation of body discontinuity leads to diminished body ownership and threat-related physiological responding. However, the impact of body discontinuity has mainly been investigated in conditions where participants observe a collocated static virtual body from a first-person perspective. The present study further explored the influence of body discontinuity in the sense of embodiment, when rich visuomotor feedback between the real and a fake virtual body was provided. In two experiments, we evaluated body ownership, motor performance, and physiological responding to a threat, when participants interacted in virtual reality either using virtual hands connected or disconnected from the rest of the artificial body. We found that even under the presence of congruent visuomotor feedback, mere observation of body discontinuity resulted in diminished embodiment. Conversely, the visual disconnection of the artificial hands did not significantly influence physiological responding to a virtual threat and motor performance in a quick task. These results are in accordance with past evidence, indicating that observation of body discontinuity negatively impacts the sense of embodiment. However, we have also found that on a physiological and motor level, visuomotor feedback seems to override incongruent morphological and visual information in relation to the body.

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