International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 479–490 | Cite as

Non-human Looking Robot Arms Induce Illusion of Embodiment

  • Laura Aymerich-FranchEmail author
  • Damien Petit
  • Gowrishankar Ganesh
  • Abderrahmane Kheddar


We examine whether non-human looking humanoid robot arms can be perceived as part of one’s own body. In two subsequent experiments, participants experienced high levels of embodiment of a robotic arm that had a blue end effector with no fingers (Experiment 1) and of a robotic arm that ended with a gripper (Experiment 2) when it was stroked synchronously with the real arm. Levels of embodiment were significantly higher than the corresponding asynchronous condition and similar to those reported for a human-looking arm. Additionally, we found that visuo-movement synchronization also induced embodiment of the robot arm and that embodiment was even partially maintained when the robot hand was covered with a blue plastic cover. We conclude that humans are able to experience a strong sense of embodiment towards non-human looking robot arms. The results have important implications for the domains related to robotic embodiment.


Humanoid robot embodiment Non-human looking robot Body ownership illusion Rubber-hand illusion 



This project has received funding from the European Union with the Marie Curie IOF Fellowship project HumRobCooperation under Grant agreement No. PIOF-CT-622764. It is also partially supported from the FP7 IP VERE No. 257695 and the Kakenhi ‘houga’ Grant 15616710 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). We specially thank Prof. E. Yoshida for his support in the ethical procedures and the interns at our laboratory in Japan who collaborated for the pretest or to appear in the pictures.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 23858 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory (JRL)UMI3218/RL, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan
  2. 2.CNRS-UM LIRMMInteractive Digital Human Group, UMR5506MontpellierFrance
  3. 3.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan

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