When me is mine: An embodied origin of psychological ownership?

AbstractNeurological evidence has shown that brain damages can selectively impair the ability to discriminate between objects belonging to others and those that we feel are our own. Despite the ubiquity and relevance of this sense of object ownership for our life, the underlying cognitive mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here we ask whether psychological ownership of an object can be based on its incorporation in one’s body image. To explore this possibility with healthy participants, we employed a modified version of the rubber hand illusion in which both the participant and the rubber hand wore a ring. We used the self-prioritization effect in a perceptual matching task as an indirect measure of the sense of (dis)ownership over objects. Results indicate that undermining the bodily self has cascade effects on the representation of owned objects, at least for those associated with the body for a long time.

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