ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (1): 37-50.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.00037

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The rubber hand illusion (RHI): The experimental paradigm of sense of ownership and its application

ZHAO Peiqiong1, CHEN Wei1,2(), ZHANG Jing3(), PING Xianjie2   

  1. 1 Center for Social Behavior and Developmental Science, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing 312000, China
    2 Department of Psychology, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing 312000, China
    3 Institute of Psychological Health, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou 310018, China
  • Received:2018-05-11 Online:2019-01-15 Published:2018-11-23


The rubber hand illusion is a perceptual illusion in which participants experience a fake model hand as part of their own body. Such an illusion could be induced by applying synchronous touches to a visible rubber hand and the hidden real hand. Rubber hand illusion has become an important paradigm of bodily sense of ownership, whose mechanism can be further divided into “bottom-up matching” and “top-down matching”. The former refers to the synchronicity of visual and tactile stimulations, while the latter refers to the participants’ pre-existed body image and body schema (including the modality of real and fake hand, similarity of spatial position). Based on above, body model theory and peri-personal space (PPS) have been proposed to explain the integration of two matching mechanisms of the arouse of body ownership. Rubber hand illusion is used to the exploration of the pathological analysis of schizophrenia, the relationship between illusion and psychological traits, the application in neurosurgery and postoperative recovery. Future studies should pay more attention to the development of paradigm itself, the enhancement of simulated effect by using virtual reality technology, as well as using the sensibility of sense of ownership to filter and predict body image related diseases.

Key words: bodily self, the rubber hand illusion (RHI), sense of ownership, sense of agency, proprioception, multisensory integration, virtual reality

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