Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 8, pp 2311–2321 | Cite as

The plausibility of visual information for hand ownership modulates multisensory synchrony perception

  • Regine ZopfEmail author
  • Jason Friedman
  • Mark A. Williams
Research Article


We are frequently changing the position of our bodies and body parts within complex environments. How does the brain keep track of one’s own body? Current models of body ownership state that visual body ownership cues such as viewed object form and orientation are combined with multisensory information to correctly identify one’s own body, estimate its current location and evoke an experience of body ownership. Within this framework, it may be possible that the brain relies on a separate perceptual analysis of body ownership cues (e.g. form, orientation, multisensory synchrony). Alternatively, these cues may interact in earlier stages of perceptual processing—visually derived body form and orientation cues may, for example, directly modulate temporal synchrony perception. The aim of the present study was to distinguish between these two alternatives. We employed a virtual hand set-up and psychophysical methods. In a two-interval force-choice task, participants were asked to detect temporal delays between executed index finger movements and observed movements. We found that body-specifying cues interact in perceptual processing. Specifically, we show that plausible visual information (both form and orientation) for one’s own body led to significantly better detection performance for small multisensory asynchronies compared to implausible visual information. We suggest that this perceptual modulation when visual information plausible for one’s own body is present is a consequence of body-specific sensory predictions.


Multisensory perception Temporal synchrony perception Virtual hand Body representations Body ownership Sensory predictions 



This work was supported by a Macquarie University Research Development Grant (9201200328). We thank Kim Weldon and Jade Jackson for assistance running participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regine Zopf
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jason Friedman
    • 3
  • Mark A. Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Perception in Action Research Centre and Department of Cognitive Science, Faculty of Human SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its DisordersMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Physical TherapyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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