Body ownership increases the interference between observed and executed movements

Dalila Burin, Konstantina Kilteni, Marco Rabuffetti, Mel Slater, Lorenzo Pia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


When we successfully achieve willed actions, the feeling that our moving body parts belong to the self (i.e., body ownership) is barely required. However, how and to what extent the awareness of our own body contributes to the neurocognitive processes subserving actions is still debated. Here we capitalized on immersive virtual reality in order to examine whether and how body ownership influences motor performance (and, secondly, if it modulates the feeling of voluntariness). Healthy participants saw a virtual body either from a first or a third person perspective. In both conditions, they had to draw continuously straight vertical lines while seeing the virtual arm doing the same action (i.e., drawing lines) or deviating from them (i.e., drawing ellipses). Results showed that when there was a mismatch between the intended and the seen movements (i.e., participants had to draw lines but the avatar drew ellipses), motor performance was strongly “attracted” towards the seen (rather than the performed) movement when the avatar’s body part was perceived as own (i.e., first person perspective). In support of previous studies, here we provide direct behavioral evidence that the feeling of body ownership modulates the interference of seen movements to the performed movements.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0209899
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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