WIPS Seminar: Aurora De Bortoli Vizioli on "The extended bodily self and the embodiment of possessions"

Aurora De Bortoli Vizioli presenting the aim of her team’s study at the LABSS Work in Progress Seminar held on March 1st 2018.

Recognizing and representing an object as our own has profound effects on our everyday behaviour. Relative to objects owned by others, we tend, for instance, to assess our own objects as more attractive and more valuable, we remember them better, and we unconsciously keep them closer to our body when we manipulate them. It has been suggested that a possible mechanism behind such effects is the inclusion of our possessions in the mental representation of the self. The aim of this study is to explore whether the sense of ownership over our possessions share common cognitive mechanisms with a key component of our bodily self, body ownership or the sense that a body or a body part like a hand is one’s own body or hand. Previous research has reported cases in which somatoparaphrenic patients who deny ownership of their paralyzed limb extend this delusional belief also to the personal property associated with it, thereby suggesting that the experience of owning property can be based on the incorporation of objects in our body image (embodiment). Building on the paradigm of the rubber-hand illusion, we propose a new design to experimentally study the relation between body-ownership and object-ownership in a population of healthy participants. Preliminary results of two experiments will be discussed.

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