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What is it like to have a body?

Longo, Matthew R. and Haggard, P. (2012) What is it like to have a body? Current Directions in Psychological Science 21 (2), pp. 140-145. ISSN 0963-7214.

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Few questions in psychology are as fundamental or as elusive as the sense of one’s own body. Despite widespread recognition of the link between body and self, psychology has only recently developed methods for the scientific study of bodily awareness. Experimental manipulations of embodiment in healthy volunteers have allowed important advances in knowledge. Synchronous multisensory inputs from different modalities play a fundamental role in producing ‘body ownership’, the feeling that my body is ‘mine’. Indeed, appropriate multisensory stimulation can induce ownership over external objects, virtual avatars, and even other people’s bodies. We argue that bodily experience is not monolithic, but has measurable internal structure and components that can be identified psychometrically and psychophysically, suggesting the apparent phenomenal unity of self-consciousness may be illusory. We further review evidence that the sense of one’s own body is highly plastic, with representations of body structure and size particularly prone to multisensory influences.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 12 months embargo from publication
School: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
Depositing User: Matthew Longo
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2012 10:11
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:52

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