Whether and how body ownership (“this body is mine”) contributes to human conscious experience of voluntary action is still unclear. In order to answer this question, here we incorporated two signatures (i.e., an ad hoc questionnaire and the sensory attenuation paradigm) of human's sense of agency (“this action is due to my own will”) within a well-known experimental manipulation of body ownership (i.e., the rubber hand illusion paradigm). In two different experiments, we showed that the illusory ownership over a fake hand (induced by the rubber hand illusion) triggered also an illusory agency over its movements at both explicit and implicit level. Specifically, when the fake (embodied) hand pressed a button delivering an electrical stimulus to the participant's body, the movement was misattributed to participant's will (explicit level) and the stimulus intensity was attenuated (implicit level) exactly as it happened when the own hand actually delivered the stimulus. Our findings suggest that body ownership per se entails also motor representations of one's own movements. Whenever required by the context, this information would act upon agency attribution even prospectively (i.e., prior to action execution).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience