PMU-Autor/inn/enFrey Vanessa Natalie
Introduction Many researchers took advantage of the well-established rubber hand illusion (RHI) paradigm to explore the link between the sense of body ownership and the different brain structures and networks. Here, we aimed to review the studies that have investigated this phenomenon by means of neurophysiological techniques. Methods The MEDLINE, accessed by Pubmed and EMBASE electronic databases, was searched using the medical subject headings: "Rubber hand illusion" AND "Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)" OR "Evoked potentials (EP)" OR "Event related potentials (ERP)" OR "Electroencephalography (EEG)". Results Transcranial magnetic stimulation studies revealed a significant excitability drop in primary motor cortex hand circuits accompanying the disembodiment of the real hand during the RHI experience and that the perceived ownership over the rubber hand is associated with normal parietal-motor communication. Moreover, TMS provided causal evidence that the extrastriate body area is involved in the RHI and subsequently in body representation, while neuromodulation of ventral premotor area and the inferior parietal lobe did not result in an enhancement of embodiment. EP and ERP studies suggest that pre-existing body representations may affect larger stages of tactile processing and support predictive coding models of the functional architecture of multisensory integration in bodily perceptual experience. High-frequency oscillations on EEG play a role in the integrative processing of stimuli across modalities, and EEG activity in gamma band activity in the parietal area reflects the visuotactile integration process. EEG studies also revealed that RHI is associated with the neural circuits underlying motor control and that premotor areas play a crucial role in mediating illusory body ownership. Conclusion Neurophysiological studies shed new light on our understanding of the different aspects that contribute to the formation of a coherent self-awareness in humans.
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