Virtual hand with ambiguous movement between the self and other origin: Sense of ownership and 'other-produced' agency

Mai Minoura*, Kei Kojima, Shuusaku Nomura, Yuta Nishiyama, Takashi Kawai, Yukio Pegio Gunji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The feeling that a body part is one’s own body (sense of ownership; SoO) and the feeling based on the causal relationship between one’s will and action (sense of agency; SoA) have been recognized as the basis of our bodily self-consciousness. Previously, the illusory SoO over a fake body part (e.g., rubber hand) was introduced as the rubber hand illusion (RHI). Furthermore, it was determined that one could also evoke a SoA over an object with movements linked to the one’s prior intention. On the other hand, the postdictivity of our spontaneity implies that it is essentially inseparable whether actions originate from self or others. In other words, our SoA or daily experiences are obtained in such as inseparable scenario. Previous research, however, has maintained the premise that self-and other-origin movements are perceptually distinguishable. Here, we implement a protocol to make these aspects ambiguous for the participants and to estimate whether they can feel SoO and/or SoA and how. To this end, we employ an experiment using virtual reality, under which participants observe virtual fingers moving very slowly (or quickly or not moving) while their own fingers do not move. For evaluation of the illusory SoO, measurements of skin conductance responses against a knife threat are adopted. Additionally, we introduce face-to-face interviews to determine whether the feelings regarding the slow movement match the conventional SoA definition. Our representative results suggest that the SoO is evoked over the hand, and various attitudes to accept its movement as the participant’s own with awareness that they did not originate it are reported by the majority. As the results show, the novelty of this protocol is discovering that in such a situation, the SoO cooperates with an externally produced SoA to establish one’s own bodily experience rather than the independence of the SoO and SoA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61755
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number164
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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