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Sustained rubber hand illusion after the end of visuotactile stimulation with a similar time course for the reduction of subjective ownership and proprioceptive drift
Experimental Brain Research  (IF1.972),  Pub Date : 2021-09-15, DOI: 10.1007/s00221-021-06211-8
Abdulkarim, Z., Hayatou, Z., Ehrsson, H. H.

The rubber hand illusion is a perceptual illusion in which participants experience an inanimate rubber hand as their own when they observe this model hand being stroked in synchrony with strokes applied to the person’s real hand, which is hidden. Earlier studies have focused on the factors that determine the elicitation of this illusion, the relative contribution of vision, touch and other sensory modalities involved and the best ways to quantify this perceptual phenomenon. Questionnaires serve to assess the subjective feeling of ownership, whereas proprioceptive drift is a measure of the recalibration of hand position sense towards the rubber hand when the illusion is induced. Proprioceptive drift has been widely used and thought of as an objective measure of the illusion, although the relationship between this measure and the subjective illusion is not fully understood. Here, we examined how long the illusion is maintained after the synchronous visuotactile stimulation stops with the specific aim of clarifying the temporal relationship in the reduction of both subjective ownership and proprioceptive drift. Our results show that both the feeling of ownership and proprioceptive drift are sustained for tens of seconds after visuotactile stroking has ceased. Furthermore, our results indicate that the reduction of proprioceptive drift and the feeling of ownership follow similar time courses in their reduction, suggesting that the two phenomena are temporally correlated. Collectively, these findings help us better understand the relationships of multisensory stimulation, subjective ownership, and proprioceptive drift in the rubber hand illusion.