Body ownership: When feeling and knowing diverge

Daniele Romano, Anna Sedda, Peter Brugger, Gabriella Bottini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    17 Citations (Scopus)
    59 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Individuals with the peculiar disturbance of 'overcompleteness' experience an intense desire to amputate one of their healthy limbs, describing a sense of disownership for it (Body Integrity Identity Disorder - BIID). This condition is similar to somatoparaphrenia, the acquired delusion that one's own limb belongs to someone else. In ten individuals with BIID, we measured skin conductance response to noxious stimuli, delivered to the accepted and non-accepted limb, touching the body part or simulating the contact (stimuli approach the body without contacting it), hypothesizing that these individuals have responses like somatoparaphrenic patients, who previously showed reduced pain anticipation, when the threat was directed to the disowned limb. We found reduced anticipatory response to stimuli approaching, but not contacting, the unwanted limb. Conversely, stimuli contacting the non-accepted body-part, induced stronger SCR than those contacting the healthy parts, suggesting that feeling of ownership is critically related to a proper processing of incoming threats.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)140-148
    Number of pages9
    JournalConsciousness and Cognition
    Volume34
    Early online date2 May 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

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