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Sensory integration through the scope of body ownership

Zoulias, I. D. (2017) Sensory integration through the scope of body ownership. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Sensory integration is the process by which the brain combines distinct sensory modalities, such that the merged information can be efficiently used to interact with the environment. Body ownership is an example of a subjective experience that emerges through sensory integration. The mechanisms of sensory integration are not yet fully understood. By employing illusions such as the body ownership illusion, where a person falsely perceives an artificial limb as part of their body, brain processes governing sensory integration can be investigated. In this PhD project, a virtual reality platform capable of eliciting a body ownership illusion via accurately timed visuo-tactile stimulation was developed, and used as a tool for studying sensory integration. A threat perception experiment, and an experiment inducing visuo-tactile stimulation with temporal delay were conducted using this platform. Biophysical and behavioural results from this study showed that threat perception and body ownership are not necessarily correlated, but can be viewed as parallel processes within the context of embodiment, and can be observed in distinct neural correlates of brain activity. Based on the results from these studies, it is proposed that the experience of body ownership is not an all-or-nothing, binary experience, but instead, can be considered as a graded experience and having multiple levels.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Nasuto, S. J., Harwin, W. S., Hayashi, Y. and Saddy, D.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Biological Sciences
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:72921

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