March 8, 2021

Robust neurophysiological correlates of the rubber hand illusion emerge at early latencies but are unrelated to changes in skin conductance accompanying the illusion

The neurophysiological processes reflecting the illusory ownership over an artificial hand remain debated. We used multivariate (cross-)classification of evoked EEG responses to probe for signatures of the illusion that robustly generalize across a number of confounding factors identified based on previous studies: the spatial arrangement of limbs, controls involving either a misaligned artificial object or participant’s own hand, and which provide evidence of illusory ownership directly within an experimental trial. Our results show that sensory-evoked responses differ between illusion and non-illusion epochs from early latencies on. While these responses exhibit distinct sensitivity to the experimental factors at distinct times, around 140 ms the evoked activity reflects the illusory state robustly across experimental manipulations. This neurophysiological signature of illusory ownership was not correlated with increases in skin conductance accompanying the illusion, suggesting that neurophysiological and bodily signals reflect distinct processes related to the embodiment of an artificial limb.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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