The rubber hand illusion does not influence basic movement
Body ownership refers to the distinct sensation that our observed body belongs to us, which is believed to stem from multisensory integration. The rubber hand illusion (RHI) provides the most well-known evidence for this proposal: synchronous (but not asynchronous) stroking of a fake hand and a participant's real hidden hand can induce a sense of ownership over the false limb. Whilst the RHI may interfere with object-directed action and alter motor cortical activity, it is not yet clear whether
... t yet clear whether a sense of ownership over an artificial hand has functional consequences for movement production per se. As such, we performed two motion-tracking experiments (n=117) to examine the effects of the RHI on the reaction time, acceleration, and velocity of rapid index finger abduction. We also examined whether subjective components of the illusion and the associated changes in hand position sense (proprioceptive drift) were correlated with changes in the kinematic variables. We observed convincing evidence that the induction of the RHI did not alter any kinematic variables. Moreover, the subjective sensations of rubber hand ownership, referral of touch, and agency did not convincingly correlate with kinematic variables, and nor did proprioceptive drift, suggesting that changes in body representation elicited by the RHI may not influence basic movement. Whilst experiment 1 suggested that individuals reporting a greater sensation of the real hand disappearing performed movements with smaller acceleration and velocity following illusion induction, we did not replicate this effect in a second experiment, suggesting that these effects may be small or not particularly robust.