The body knows what it should do: Automatic motor compensation for illusory heaviness contagion

Tomohisa Asai*, Eriko Sugimori, Yoshihiko Tanno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We can share various feelings with others just through observation, as if it were an automatic resonance.This connective function between the self and others could promote the facilitation of our social communication; however, it is still unclear as to how it works in terms of self-other representation. In this study, we showed participants a picture of a model holding a ball, which was weighted with sand. We instructed participants to move one of their arms to a horizontal position and hold it immobile.Those participants who knew the actual weight of the ball (1 kg) tended to raise this arm above the horizontal, in response to their expectation of the need to resist the weight of the ball.This compensatory reaction to the illusion of heaviness suggests that our bodily resonance could be mandatory and predictive. We discuss this new behavioral phenomenon in terms of motor simulation or the mirror-neuron system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 244
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Body resonance
  • Mirror-neuron system
  • Motor compensation
  • Motor simulation
  • Simulation hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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