Psychological Research

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 185–195 | Cite as

Do movements contribute to sense of body ownership? Rubber hand illusion in expert pianists

  • Maria PyasikEmail author
  • Adriana Salatino
  • Lorenzo Pia
Original Article


Currently, it is still debated whether, how and to what extent movements contribute to the sense of body ownership (i.e., the feeling that one’s body belongs to oneself). To answer this question, here we examined if a prolonged increase of the amount of movements affects body ownership. Specifically, we administered the rubber hand illusion paradigm within a natural condition of long-term motor practice, namely in expert pianists. We compared the illusory effects of both static (visuotactile stimulation) and dynamic (active/passive movements) versions of that paradigm in a group of expert pianists and a group of non-musicians. The illusion was measured behaviorally (proprioceptive drift) and subjectively (questionnaire). Our results showed that pianists were significantly less susceptible to any type of the illusion, compared to the non-musicians. Moreover, they did not experience the illusion in general (presenting neither the proprioceptive drift, nor the subjective feeling of ownership). These findings suggest that the increased amount of motor-related afferent and efferent signals does affect the construction and the coherence of body ownership, thus showing the role of movements in this process.


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

426_2018_1137_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 18 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SAMBA-SpAtial, Motor and Bodily Awareness Research Group, Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.NIT-Neuroscience Institute of TurinTurinItaly

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