Bodily Self-attribution Caused by Seeing External Body-Resembling Objects and the Control of Grasp Forces

  • Eleonora Westebring-van der Putten
  • Richard Goossens
  • Jenny Dankelman
  • Jack Jakimowicz
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6192)


The brain localizes body parts in their perceived visual locations. The brain can, however, be easily fooled. By making use of the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI), a feeling of ownership of the rubber hand can be evoked. The influence of this illusion on grasp force has not yet been researched, but it might well prove promising for grasp control during tool usage. This study explores whether the RHI can be used to give a person better control over grasp force when manipulating an instrument that makes use of the RHI than when using an instrument that does not. Ten participants performed grasp and pull tasks under three different conditions. They were required to grasp an object with their bare hands, with a rubber-hand, and with an instrument. After analyzing grasp forces during maximal pulling loads (4.95 N barehanded, 6.45 N rubber-handed and 7.9 N using an instrument), it may be concluded that the RHI can contribute to improved grasp control.


bodily self touch vision sense rubber hand illusion perception 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Johansson, R.S.: Sensory input and control of grip. Novartis Found Symp. 218, 45–59 (1998) (discussion 59-63)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Longo, M.R., Cardozo, S., Haggard, P.: Visual enhancement of touch and the bodily self. Consciousness and Cognition 17, 1181–1191 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Makin, T.R., Holmes, N.P., Zohary, E.: Is that near my hand? Multisensory representation of peripersonal space in human intraparietal sulcus. J. Neurosci. 27, 731–740 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Makin, T.R., Holmes, N.P., Ehrsson, H.H.: On the other hand: dummy hands and peripersonal space. Behav. Brain Res. 191, 1–10 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Armel, K.C., Ramachandran, V.S.: Projecting sensations to external objects: evidence from skin conductance response. Proc. Biol. Sci. 270, 1499–1506 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ijsselsteijn, W.A., De Kort, Y.A.W., Haans, A.: Is this my hand I see before me? The rubber hand illusion in reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 15, 455–464 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Westebring-van der Putten, E.P., Goossens, R.H.M., Jakimowicz, J.J., Dankelman, J.: Haptics in minimally invasive surgery - a review. Minimally Invasive Therapy and Allied Technologies 17, 3–16 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Haggard, P., Taylor-Clarke, M., Kennett, S.: Tactile perception, cortical representation and the bodily self. Curr. Biol. 13, 170–173 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ernst, M.O., Banks, M.S.: Humans integrate visual and haptic information in a statistically optimal fashion. Nature 415, 429–433 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lee, D.N., Aronson, E.: Visual proprioceptive control of standing in human infants. Perception and Psychophysics 15, 529–532 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kennett, S., Taylor-Clarke, M., Haggard, P.: Noninformative vision improves the spatial resolution of touch in humans. Curr. Biol. 11, 1188–1191 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Costantini, M., Haggard, P.: The rubber hand illusion: Sensitivity and reference frame for body ownership. Consciousness and Cognition 16, 229–240 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Botvinick, M., Cohen, J.: Rubber hands ‘feel’ touch that eyes see [8]. Nature 391, 756 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tsakiris, M., Haggard, P.: The rubber hand illusion revisited: Visuotactile integration and self-attribution. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 31, 80–91 (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Holmes, N.P., Snijders, H.J., Spence, C.: Reaching with alien limbs: Visual exposure to prosthetic hands in a mirror biases proprioception without accompanying illusions of ownership. Perception and Psychophysics 68, 685–701 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Makin, T.R., Holmes, N.P., Ehrsson, H.H.: On the other hand: Dummy hands and peripersonal space. Behavioural Brain Research 191, 1–10 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Graziano, M.S.: Where is my arm? The relative role of vision and proprioception in the neuronal representation of limb position. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96, 10418–10421 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lloyd, D.M.: Spatial limits on referred touch to an alien limb may reflect boundaries of visuo-tactile peripersonal space surrounding the hand. Brain and Cognition 64, 104–109 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Serino, A., Bassolino, M., Farne, A., Ladavas, E.: Extended multisensory space in blind cane users. Psychol. Sci. 18, 642–648 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tlauka, M.: Display-control compatibility: the relationship between performance and judgments of performance. Ergonomics 47, 281–295 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eleonora Westebring-van der Putten
    • 1
  • Richard Goossens
    • 1
  • Jenny Dankelman
    • 1
  • Jack Jakimowicz
    • 1
  1. 1.faculty of Industrial design engineeringTU DelftDelftNetherlands

Personalised recommendations