The role of visual similarity and memory in body model distortions

Aurelie Saulton, Matthew R. Longo, Hong Yu Wong, Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Stephan de la Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies have shown that the perception of one's own hand size is distorted in proprioceptive localization tasks. It has been suggested that those distortions mirror somatosensory anisotropies. Recent research suggests that non-corporeal items also show some spatial distortions. In order to investigate the psychological processes underlying the localization task, we investigated the influences of visual similarity and memory on distortions observed on corporeal and non-corporeal items. In experiment 1, participants indicated the location of landmarks on: their own hand, a rubber hand (rated as most similar to the real hand), and a rake (rated as least similar to the real hand). Results show no significant differences between rake and rubber hand distortions but both items were significantly less distorted than the hand. Experiments 2 and 3 explored the role of memory in spatial distance judgments of the hand, the rake and the rubber hand. Spatial representations of items measured in experiments 2 and 3 were also distorted but showed the tendency to be smaller than in localization tasks. While memory and visual similarity seem to contribute to explain qualitative similarities in distortions between the hand and non-corporeal items, those factors cannot explain the larger magnitude observed in hand distortions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1


  • Body model
  • Body representation
  • Distortions
  • Hand
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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