Flexibility of Personal Space and the Body Schema - Role of Haptic Feedback on Body Representation

Lead Research Organisation: Bangor University
Department Name: Sch of Psychology

Abstract

How does your brain know the difference between your body and objects located close to your body? If you were to observe your own hand on a table next to a cup, how would your brain make the distinction between your hand and the cup? More interestingly, does the distinction between body and non-body remain fixed, or can your brain be tricked into accepting non-body objects as an extension of the self? These questions have been addressed in research exploring responses to tools, rubber hands, and, more recently, virtual limbs. There are two features usually associated with ones own body: one will receive sensory feedback from the body and one will be able to control the body. It is likely that both of these features contribute towards the distinction between the body and the non-body, although there is some debate as to which features are most crucial in establishing this distinction. Research conducted during this fellowship will investigate how the brain can be encouraged to respond to a virtual body in the same way as it would respond to a real body by exploring the importance of sensory feedback and control.

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