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Su-Ling Yeh, Timothy Lane, Jifan Zhou, Ting-yi Lin, Chia-Hsin Kuo, Cheng-Yun Teng; Difference between eyes-closed and eyes-open resting state alpha power is an indicator of susceptibility to the rubber hand illusion. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):538. doi: 10.1167/14.10.538.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In undergoing the rubber hand illusion (RHI) participants experience an imitation hand as belonging to self, when viewing that hand as it is stroked synchronously with the occluded real hand. Although the illusion can be robust, not everyone experiences it. Approximately 30% of participants do not. To explore the difference between the 70% who are susceptible (RHI-S) and the 30% who are not (RHI-N), our study examined resting-state alpha power variance. RHI-S and RHI-N participants were selected by a pre-test in which RHI onset time was recorded during the induction period. RHI-S was operationally defined as participants for whom the illusion occurred within 30s after induction began; RHI-N, as participants for whom the illusion did not occur within three minutes. Resting-state EEG in eyes-closed (EC) and eyes-open (EO) conditions were recorded at the start of the formal experiment. Next the RHI induction procedure was repeated to examine RHI stability. Finally, the baseline was measured again. When comparing pre-test to formal test results, participant susceptibility was unchanged, suggesting RHI susceptibility is stable. Frequency analysis showed that alpha power variance between EC and EO was significantly larger for RHI-S participants than for RHI-N participants, a pattern that remains unchanged after completion of the RHI induction attempt. Ever since discovery of the Berger Effect—decrease or disappearance of alpha band oscillations when eyes open—the role of alpha in mental activity has been subject to debate. Our findings are consistent with interpretations that suggest alpha is associated with self-relatedness and inhibition of attention to the external world. It might be that RHI-N participants attend somewhat less to external stimuli, while attending to personal concerns, even after their eyes open, causing them to rely more on internal (e.g., proprioceptive) rather than the external (e.g., visual) information when generating a sense of limb ownership.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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