Project

Revisiting the Rubber Hand Illusion: Exploring Feelings of Ownership Towards a Digital Hand

Goal: The project is based on an existing study referred to as the ‘Rubber Hand Illusion’ (Botvinick & Cohen, 1998) where subjects reported the curious sensation that an artificial rubber hand felt like their own hand. The results reported in the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) state a combination of visuotactile stimulation create the illusion, allowing for the self-attribution of the artificial rubber hand. This project investigates the constraints of the illusion to explore if it occurs when a virtual hand is used and minimal parameters are applied. In addition, this study reproduces the original RHI to investigate if the results can be repeated using the same experimental design. There are several aims for the project. The first is to build upon previous studies to add to the body of work relating to Body Ownership Illusions in the field of behavioural science. The second is to understand if combining visuotactile stimulation to an anatomically correct virtual hand can also create a sense of body ownership as this may have implications for other areas such as first person gaming and education. The third is that there is potential if proven to write and have a study publicly published and this would help if undertaking a PhD in future.

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Project log

Joanna Aldhous
added 2 research items
The mechanisms behind the cognitive processes relating to our sense of body ownership and self-attribution are still not fully understood. This study reproduces and builds upon the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI), where subjects report the curious sensation of feeling an artificial hand as being their own. Two experiments are conducted. The first investigates if the results of the original RHI can be successfully reproduced using the same experimental design. The second investigates the constraints of the phenomenon using a virtual hand with a resolution of 55%, whilst applying a delay of 300ms. The results support the findings of the original RHI. Subjects in the experimental group exhibited a noticeable drift of 40mm toward the rubber hand, when asked to point to their own left hand; p = .007 and statements regarding ownership of the rubber hand proved significant; p < 0.05. A delay of 300ms in haptic feedback was sufficient to break the illusion in the second experiment, where there was a noticeable drift of-10mm away from the virtual hand for the control group, compared to a 29mm drift toward the virtual hand for the experimental group; p < .001. In addition, an anatomically correct virtual hand with a resolution of 55% was sufficient to create the illusion. In the experimental group 8 out 15 subjects, and 9 out 15 (60%) subjects in the control group felt that the virtual hand was their own, suggesting avatar bodily representations that are anatomically correct/similar elicit a sense of ownership.
During both experiments subjects sat upright, in front of a table, with a tape measure affixed to the nearside edge. The drift measures were recorded using the affixed tape measure before a condition was applied. During the condition subjects observed a ‘false’ hand located in front of them for a period of five minutes, while their own ‘real’ left hand which was situated pronated REVISITING THE RUBBER HAND ILLUSION | PAGE 3 (palm face down) on the table and hidden from view. During this period, the subject’s real hand was stoked with a paintbrush, at the same time as they observed the false hand being stroked with an identical paintbrush - either synchronously or asynchronously depending on the chosen condition. After five minutes had elapsed the drift measures were recorded once more, before subjects answered open questions about their experience. Lastly subjects completed a questionnaire. Two experiments were conducted.
Joanna Aldhous
added an update
Pleased to say there have been some significant findings in the final data for the outstanding experiments relating to the RHI for the tablet treatments. just understanding the implications of the results and preparing a final paper.
The final paper will include the results mentioned in the previous Digital Rubber Hand Illusion conference paper previously published. Very exciting! hopefully the final paper will be ready before the end of the year for availability.
 
Joanna Aldhous
added a research item
The rubber hand illusion (RHI) is a body ownership illusion whereby congruently stroking a fake rubber hand and a subject's hidden hand while observing the rubber hand produces the illusion of them feeling the touch on the rubber hand and experiencing the rubber hand to be part of their own body. The parameters of the RHI have not been fully defined and we describe an approach utilising digital media and technology to examine and establish parameters for this illusion beginning with three experiments: (i) Repeating the original RHI to determine if our test conditions are conducive to producing the classic illusion. (ii) Replacing the original rubber hand with either a static or animated digital image of it displayed on a tablet. (iii) A VR implementation whereby participants see an image of their own hand viewed through a head-mounted display. Measurements of proprioceptive drift (an objective indicator of the feeling of ownership of the rubber hand) corroborated the original RHI and also suggested that a similar phenomenon can occur when the rubber hand was replaced with either a static or animated digital image of it or in a VR condition. Rubber hand illusion, digital media, virtual reality, body ownership illusions.
Joanna Aldhous
added an update
Project goal
The project is based on an existing study referred to as the ‘Rubber Hand Illusion’ (Botvinick & Cohen, 1998) where subjects reported the curious sensation that an artificial rubber hand felt like their own hand. The results reported in the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) state a combination of visuotactile stimulation create the illusion, allowing for the self-attribution of the artificial rubber hand. This project investigates the constraints of the illusion to explore if it occurs when a virtual hand is used and minimal parameters are applied. In addition, this study reproduces the original RHI to investigate if the results can be repeated using the same experimental design. There are several aims for the project. The first is to build upon previous studies to add to the body of work relating to Body Ownership Illusions in the field of behavioural science. The second is to understand if combining visuotactile stimulation to an anatomically correct virtual hand can also create a sense of body ownership as this may have implications for other areas such as first person gaming and education. The third is that there is potential if proven to write and have a study publicly published and this would help if undertaking a PhD in future.
Background and motivation
Initial draft of the study paper for feedback.