Owning an overweight or underweight body : distinguishing the physical, experienced and virtual body

Piryankova, Iveline and Wong, Hong Yu and Linkenauger, Sally and Stinson, Catherine and Longo, Matthew and Buelthoff, H. H. and Mohler, B. J. (2014) Owning an overweight or underweight body : distinguishing the physical, experienced and virtual body. PLoS ONE, 9 (8): e103428. ISSN 1932-6203

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Our bodies are the most intimately familiar objects we encounter in our perceptual environment. Virtual reality provides a unique method to allow us to experience having a very different body from our own, thereby providing a valuable method to explore the plasticity of body representation. In this paper, we show that women can experience ownership over a whole virtual body that is considerably smaller or larger than their physical body. In order to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying body ownership, we use an embodiment questionnaire, and introduce two new behavioral response measures: an affordance estimation task (indirect measure of body size) and a body size estimation task (direct measure of body size). Interestingly, after viewing the virtual body from first person perspective, both the affordance and the body size estimation tasks indicate a change in the perception of the size of the participant's experienced body. The change is biased by the size of the virtual body (overweight or underweight). Another novel aspect of our study is that we distinguish between the physical, experienced and virtual bodies, by asking participants to provide affordance and body size estimations for each of the three bodies separately. This methodological point is important for virtual reality experiments investigating body ownership of a virtual body, because it offers a better understanding of which cues (e.g. visual, proprioceptive, memory, or a combination thereof) influence body perception, and whether the impact of these cues can vary between different setups.

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© 2014 Piryankova et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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?? agricultural and biological sciences(all)biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology(all)medicine(all) ??
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25 Sep 2014 09:13
Last Modified:
20 Jan 2024 00:14