The rubber hand illusion revisited: visuotactile integration and self-attribution

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2005 Feb;31(1):80-91. doi: 10.1037/0096-1523.31.1.80.


Watching a rubber hand being stroked, while one's own unseen hand is synchronously stroked, may cause the rubber hand to be attributed to one's own body, to "feel like it's my hand." A behavioral measure of the rubber hand illusion (RHI) is a drift of the perceived position of one's own hand toward the rubber hand. The authors investigated (a) the influence of general body scheme representations on the RHI in Experiments 1 and 2 and (b) the necessary conditions of visuotactile stimulation underlying the RHI in Experiments 3 and 4. Overall, the results suggest that at the level of the process underlying the build up of the RHI, bottom-up processes of visuotactile correlation drive the illusion as a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. Conversely, at the level of the phenomenological content, the illusion is modulated by top-down influences originating from the representation of one's own body.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Optical Illusions*
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Self Concept*
  • Touch*
  • Visual Perception*