Modulation of Bodily Self-Consciousness by Self and External Touch

Masayuki Hara, Noriaki Kanayama, Olaf Blanke, Roy Salomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The full body illusion (FBI) is a bodily illusion based on the application of multisensory conflicts that induce changes in bodily self-consciousness (BSC). This has been used to study cognitive brain mechanisms underlying body ownership and related aspects of self-consciousness. Typically, such paradigms employ external passive multisensory stimulation, thus neglecting the possible contributions of self-generated action and haptic cues to body ownership. In this article, the effects of both external and voluntary self-touch on BSC were examined with a robotics-based FBI paradigm. We compared the effects of classical passive visuotactile stimulation and active self-touch (in which experimental participants had a sense of agency over the tactile stimulation) on the FBI. We evaluated these effects using a questionnaire, crossmodal congruency task, and measurements of changes in self-location. The results indicated that both synchronous passive visuotactile stimulation and synchronous active self-touch induced illusory ownership over a virtual body, without significant differences in their magnitudes. However, the FBI induced by active self-touch was associated with a larger drift in self-location towards the virtual body. These results show that movement-related signals arising from self-touch impact the BSC not only for hand ownership but also for torso-centered body ownership and related aspects of BSC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-625
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008-2011 IEEE.


  • Active self-touch
  • cognetics
  • full body illusion
  • sense of agency
  • sense of body ownership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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